Walter Energy posts loss on weak prices, plans asset sales

08/01/2013

Aug 1 (Reuters) - Coal miner Walter Energy Inc reported a second-quarter loss on Thursday as weak coal prices weighed on revenue, and said it was aiming to raise $250 million from asset sales over the next nine months.

On a call with analysts and investors, Chief Financial Officer Bill Harvey said Walter is looking to divest assets or form joint ventures. The mining company said in March it would explore the sale of non-core assets.

Much of Walter's production is metallurgical coal, used to make steel, and weakness in the global steel market has hit its results hard.

The company won a proxy battle against a minor shareholder, British hedge fund Audley Capital Advisors LLP in April. It said costs associated with that fight hurt earnings.

Walter, which in June pulled a planned credit refinancing, said on July 23 it would slash its dividend to 1 cent a share, from 12.5 cents a share. It also amended an April 2011 credit agreement for the fifth time.

The company, which has operations in North America and the United Kingdom, reduced its capital spending target to $150 million for the year. In May, it cut the sum to $170 million from $220 million.

The second-quarter net loss was $34.5 million, or 55 cents a share, compared with earnings of $31.9 million, or 51 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue dropped 35 percent to $441.5 million.

Analysts, on average, expected a loss of 77 cents a share on revenue of $473 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Walter's shares fell 2 percent to $10.98.



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