April 29, 2015 / 7:29 PM / 3 years ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Miner Cliffs quarterly revenue falls, cuts capex

(Removes reference to spot iron prices, and utilities switching to natgas and weak met coal demand from China; corrects fifth paragraph to say the company is selling its North American coal business, not its North American business; adds net income from continuing operations as paragraph 10; adds dollar sign in paragraph 11)

April 28 (Reuters) - Coal and iron ore producer Cliffs Natural Resources Inc reported a 28 percent fall in quarterly revenue, and the company cut its capital budget as prices tumble.

Iron ore prices have been weighed down by weak demand for the steel-making ingredient in both domestic and international markets such as China.

Revenue from the company’s U.S. iron ore operations decreased about 14 percent to $311.8 million in the first quarter.

Cleveland, Ohio-based Cliffs said it expects to produce and ship 20.5 million tons of iron ore in 2015 from its U.S. business, compared with 22.4 million it produced in 2014.

The company said it was considering a sale of its North American coal business, which produced 1.4 million tons of coal in the quarter ended March 31.

“They’re looking to exit both North American coal and Asia Pacific iron ore but the problem is, I don’t think they have a buyer right now for either business,” Wolfe Research analyst Gordon Johnson told Reuters.

The company recently sought creditor protection for its Canadian arm and sold its chromite assets in the northern Ontario Ring of Fire district.

Cliffs cut its capital expenditure budget to $100 million to $125 million for 2015. The miner had earlier set a capital budget of $125 million-$150 million.

The company’s net loss attributable to shareholders widened to $772.6 million, or $4.26 per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, from $83.1 million, or 54 cents per share, a year earlier.

Net income from continuing operations attributable to shareholders was $167 million, or 94 cents per share.

Revenue fell to $446 million from $615.5 million.

The company said the first-quarter results take into account the impact of the North American Coal and the Canadian businesses being treated as discontinued operations.

Up to Tuesday’s close of $5.87, the miner’s shares have fallen about 18 percent in the past 12 months. (Reporting by Tanvi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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