In 2012, he added, all coal producers faced lessened demand and excess supply in the metallurgical and thermal markets at home and abroad. Consequently, Alpha restructured, curbing capital expenditures amid pledges to reduce overhead by $150 million annually while enhancing liquidity.
“While the restructuring efforts announced in 2012 are largely complete, Alpha will continue to evaluate market conditions and remains poised to adjust as necessary as the industry continues to evolve,” said Crutchfield.
Some improvements are already reflected in the numbers, noted company officials. During 2012, Alpha shipments totaled 108 million tons, more than 106 million tons than the previous year. In 2012 met coal shipments totaled 20 million tons, compared with 19 million during 2011. Overall 2012 shipments of PRB and Eastern steam coal were 46 million and 42 million tons, respectively, compared with 50 million and 37 million tons in the previous year.
Alpha officials anticipate shipping between up to 92 million tons in 2013, including 19 million to 22 million tons of Eastern metallurgical coal and 25 million to 30 million tons of Eastern steam coal—and up to 40 million tons of Western steam coal out of the PRB.
As of late January, the 47% midpoint of met coal shipments were priced at an average $113.25/ton as the 94% midpoint of anticipated Eastern steam coal shipments were priced at $62.71/ton. At the same time, 97% of the PRB shipments were dedicated at $12.84/ton.
Alpha’s 2013 coal sales cost is expected to range between $71 and $75/ton in the East and $10 and $11/ton in the West.