Coal miners to see improved finances: BMI
Mining News Pro - A new report by BMI Research states that despite coal being an increasingly targeted commodity on environmental protection grounds, the demand remains strong due to the economic aspect of the fossil fuel and therefore producers will see improving financials over the coming years.

According to BMI, major coal miners have already displayed positive financial performance in FY2017 and H118, aided by the significant rally in coal prices and better management strategies. In the researcher’s view, this trend is likely to go on.

“For instance, the world’s largest coal miner China Shenhua Energy`s net debt to EBITDA decreased from 1.0x in FY2015 to 0.2x in FY2017. US coal miner Peabody Energy Corp’s net debt to EBITDA also decreased substantially from 40.7x in FY2016 to 0.1x in FY2017 after the company filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2016 and streamlined its operations. While not a dedicated coal miner, diversified miner Glencore with significant exposure to coal and a reputation of prioritising coal at a time when others are exiting the industry continues to lower its debt load. The company`s net debt reduced to $10.7 billion in FY2017 compared to $15.5 billion in FY2016. The company`s debt to EBITDA ratio is at a multi-year low of 2.7x,” the report reads.


BMI suggests that Asian producers will continue to outperform in terms of financial gains due to proximity to demand markets and availability of deposits, while producers in western countries including the United States and Europe will face increasing costs and greater environmental scrutiny.

In its outlook, BMI considers that although times are tempting for miners to resume aggressive acquisitions amid better performance and a pickup in coal prices, it is not expected that they will increase capital expenditures significantly. “This is because as a group, coal miners are still low on free cash flow although firms including China Shenhua, Coal India and Adaro Energy that have substantially better balance sheets distort the total. Compared to a total of $11.8 billion spent on capex in FY2016 by the top 33 coal mining companies on Bloomberg`s top coal mining competitive peers Index, spending got reduced to $9.6 billion in FY2017,” the firm’s document states.

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