Westmoreland Coal posts higher Q3 proft, Alessi to retire in 2013

Westmoreland Coal (NasdaqGM: WLB) said Oct. 25 that Keith Alessi, its current CEO, will retire effective April 5, 2013, and will assume the position of Executive Chairman of the Board, with company President and COO Robert King assuming the CEO title on that date.

Also, in terms of earnings, Westmoreland reported that adjusted EBITDA increased 46.7% or $11.3m during the third quarter to $35.5m as compared to $24.2m in the year-ago quarter. Year to date 2012 adjusted EBITDA was $77.4m, an increase of $15.7m or 25.4% over 2011 year to date adjusted EBITDA of $61.7m.

Net income applicable to common shareholders of $7.3m ($0.52 per basic and $0.50 per diluted share) for the third quarter compared to a third quarter 2011 net income of $2.4m ($0.18 per basic and diluted share). Year to date net loss for 2012 was $4.6m compared to a year to date net loss for 2011 of $23.3m. The 2011 net loss includes $20.2m of charges related to the refinancing of debt.

“This is a record quarter for the company as measured by Adjusted EBITDA,” said Alessi. “The strong increases over prior year were largely driven by the operating results of the Kemmerer mine and the continuing execution of our low overhead, mine mouth model. To put the quarter in perspective, the financial results of this single quarter exceeded the financial results of the entire year of 2009. I feel that we demonstrated during 2010 and 2011 that we repaired the business and built a solid platform. Now, in 2012, I believe that we are showing that we can grow our business responsibly and profitably.”

Kemmerer is a strip mine in southwest Wyoming that Westmoreland acquired earlier this year and largely serves an adjacent power plant of PacifiCorp.

Alessi added: “The Board of Directors and I have been preparing for a transition of the day-to-day leadership of the business for some time now. The hiring of Bob King earlier this year was an important step in this process. He has made a positive impact on our business and I am confident that his skills and deep industry experience will benefit the company as it continues to seek growth opportunities. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Bob in my role as Executive Chairman beginning in April 2013. I am also pleased that our current Chairman, Dick Klingaman, has agreed to transition to Lead Independent Director at the time I move to the Executive Chair role.”

Westmoreland sold 6 million tons of coal in the third quarter, the same as in the year-ago quarter. Westmoreland’s coal revenues and adjusted EBITDA both increased significantly during the third quarter of 2012 over prior year due primarily to the Kemmerer Mine acquisition and were offset by reduced tonnage demand due to reduced demand for power and increased wind generation.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.