Coal giant Peabody's 3Q net income rises

By the Associated Press | October 25, 2011 | 1:55 PM EDT

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Coal-mining giant Peabody Energy Corp. said Tuesday its third-quarter earnings climbed 22 percent and demand for coal is still rising for power generation in Asia and Europe.

Separately, Peabody said that steel maker ArcelorMittal has pulled out of their joint bid to buy Australia's Macarthur Coal Ltd. for about $5 billion, and will sell its interest to Peabody.

Peabody shares fell 1.7 percent to $40.25 in premarket trading.

The St. Louis-based company said net income rose to $274.1 million, or $1 per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30. That's up from $224.1 million, or 83 cents per share, a year earlier.

The company said earnings after special items totaled 87 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected adjusted earnings of 90 cents per share.

Revenue rose 9 percent to $2.04 billion. Analysts expected $1.99 billion.

ArcelorMittal's announcement that it was pulling out of the joint bid for Macarthur Coal came just one day after the companies said that they had won over a majority of Macarthur shares.

Peabody Chairman and CEO Gregory H. Boyce said Tuesday that while his company expected a partnership with Europe's ArcelorMittal, "We have always preferred a larger ownership." He said going it alone would speed up Peabody's ability to cut costs and benefit from the acquisition.

Peabody said it is getting a new loan of up to $1 billion and will use cash and borrowing to pay for Macarthur.

The company left unchanged its forecast of full-year adjusted earnings between $3.70 and $4.15 per share. Analysts expect $4.01 per share.