Sale of Mines to Murray Boosts Consol’s Profits

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Consol Energy said Friday that its fourth-quarter net income more than quadrupled, mostly helped by the sale of five longwall coal mines.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, the company earned $738.2 million, or $3.20 per share. That’s up sharply from $149.9 million, or 65 cents per share, a year earlier.

Consol Energy’s income from discontinued operations totaled $591 million. In October the company announced that it was selling all five of its longwall coal mines in West Virginia to Ohio-based Murray Energy for $3.5 billion.

The current quarter’s results also included a $131 million income tax benefit.

Adjusted earnings declined 20 percent to $179.1 million from $223.9 million, hindered by lower margins at its coal and gas divisions.

Revenue fell 12 percent to $825.2 million from $934.8 million.

Full-year net income jumped 70 percent to $660.4 million, or $2.87 per share, from $388.5 million, or $1.70 per share, in the prior year.

Annual revenue declined 10 percent to $3.3 billion from $3.68 billion.

Chairman and CEO J. Brett Harvey said that Consol Energy is looking to raise its gas production by 30 percent and its coal production by 5 million tons annually once the BMX mine in Pennsylvania opens late in the first quarter.

Gas production is expected to be 215 to 235 billions of cubic feet equivalent for 2014 and about 47 to 49 billions of cubic feet equivalent in the first quarter. For 2015 and 2016, gas production is anticipated to rise by 30 percent.