Coke maker and logistics company Suncoke Energy expects 2021 volumes and profits to come in at the high end of forecasts, partly because of stronger coal exports.
The company projected today that its logistics business will handle 18mn-18.5mn short tons (16.3mn-16.8mn metric tonnes) of coal and other products this year, up from 14.7mn st in 2020. It previously forecast that the business would handle 17mn-18.5mn st.
“Increased global demand, strong API 2 index pricing and increasing natural gas price have resulted in higher thermal coal exports from the US,” Suncoke interim chief financial officer Allison Lausas said on an earnings conference call. The company expects export volumes to remain “strong” this quarter as well.
Suncoke also entered a take-or-pay agreement in the first quarter to ship iron ore pellets through its Convent Marine Terminal in Louisiana that will help boost volumes through the terminal.
The company handled 5.3mn st of coal and other products in the first quarter, up from 4.2mn st a year earlier and 4.3mn st in the final three months of 2020.
The entire increase in first quarter logistics volumes was from the Convent terminal, which handled 2.1mn st of coal for export and 750,000st of other products last quarter. The terminal handled 1.25mn st of coal and bulk products in the first quarter of 2020.
Suncoke now expects CMT to handle around 5mn st of coal this year. It had previously forecast the terminal would handle 4mn-5mn st of coal.
CMT will also handle 2.5mn-3mn st of products other than coal. That is in line with what Suncoke previously forecast.
Suncoke also kept projections for its domestic terminals unchanged at around 10.5mn st. That would be an almost 1mn st increase from 2020.
Coal shipments through the company’s Kanawha River, Lake and Dismal River terminals fell last quarter to 2.44mn st from 2.96mn st a year earlier. That still was an increase from volumes handled in the second, third and fourth quarters of 2020, when Covid-19 mitigation measures curbed coking coal, steel and electric power demand.
Suncoke’s US coke production slipped to 1.04mn st in the first quarter from 1.07mn st a year earlier. But production was 14.6pc higher than in the fourth quarter.
Company coke factories are back to running at full capacity after being cut last year because of effects from the pandemic, Suncoke said. The company still expects to produce 4.1mn st of coke this year, up from 3.84mn st in 2020.
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- On May 4, 2021