June 25, 2009 / 10:30 PM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 1-Western Canadian Coal posts Q4 profit

* Q4 EPS C$0.23 vs yr-ago loss C$0.33/shr

* Revenue up 48 pct to C$111.7 mln

* Expects to sell about 2.2 mln tonnes of coal in 2010

June 25 (Reuters) - Metallurgical coal producer Western Canadian Coal Corp WTN.TO WTN.L posted a fourth-quarter profit as strong coal prices boosted revenue.

For the fourth quarter ending March 31, Western Canadian earned C$47.6 million ($41.14 million), or 23 Canadian cents per share, compared with a net loss of C$37.8 million, or 33 Canadian cents per share, a year ago.

Two analysts were expecting earnings of 13 Canadian cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Revenue rose 48 percent to C$111.7 million.

Quarterly coal production dropped 28 percent to 501,000 tonnes. Cash costs, however, climbed to C$136 per tonne as compared to C$95 per tonne in the year-ago quarter, due to higher stripping ratios.

Average realized price of C$316 per tonne was 263 percent higher than the same quarter of 2008, the company said.

Chief Executive John Hogg said improved coal prices helped the company to strengthen its financial position and catch up on waste removal, which resulted in higher stripping ratios and corresponding higher cash costs during fiscal 2009.

Western Canadian’s customers have significantly lowered steel production due to the downturn.

However, the company said it expects the economic stimulus packages introduced by governments in the United States, Japan and China will boost steel production, thereby increasing the demand for metallurgical coal.

For fiscal 2010, Western Canadian now expects to sell about 2.2 million tonnes of metallurgical coal, up from its earlier forecast of 2.0 million tonnes.

Western Canadian shares closed at C$1.99 Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. ($1=1.157 Canadian dollar) (Reporting by R. Manikandan in Bangalore; Editing by Ratul Ray Chaudhuri)

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