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Peabody Energy Sees Revenue Surge In First Quarter

Peabody Energy announced a huge increase in revenue for its first quarter of 2017. Many see this as a victory for the struggling energy industry, while some don’t believe it will last.

Peabody Energy is the largest coal mining firm in the world. They went bankrupt the first quarter of last year. At their Wyoming complex, the company laid off 15% of their workforce. 

As the company returns to the market, a new report shows a 29% rise in revenue from last year: $1.33 billion from $1.03 billion.

Peter Marsters is with the Rhodium Group, an organization that watches trends for investment groups. He said the uptick is likely due to changes made to get back out of bankruptcy, “Through those processes, they’ve been able to cut some of the fat and trim down their operations.” 

Masters said he’s not confident the uptick will last, adding the success of coal is still dependent on high natural gas prices. Right now, they’re low and Marsters doesn’t believe that will change anytime soon. 

He said, “It is unlikely that natural gas will become more expensive due to the amount of supply and resources so it is unlikely to see a radical change in the current market for coal."

Marsters said there’s also an international component. Peabody has operations in Australia which depend on favorable coal pricing from China. Recent government intervention from China has helped increase the average revenue-per-ton of coal. 

Before Wyoming, Cooper McKim has reported for NPR stations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and South Carolina. He's reported breaking news segments and features for several national NPR news programs. Cooper is the host of the limited podcast series Carbon Valley. Cooper studied Environmental Policy and Music. He's an avid jazz piano player, backpacker, and podcast listener.
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