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Arch Coal posts $72 million loss

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Citing hope for the future of coal markets, Arch Coal today posted an adjusted net loss of $72 million in the first of 2013.

Last quarter, Arch posted a net loss of $8 million, a cost of about four cents per diluted share. Revenues were down due to lower sales volumes, with Arch Coal posting only about $826 million this year.

"Despite the global coal market headwinds that have prevailed over the last 18 months, we are delivering strong cost control, exercising capital restraint and minimizing cash outflows in the trough of the market cycle, while maintaining our commitment to safety and environmental excellence," said John W. Eaves, Arch's president and chief executive officer. "As the market cycle turns, we are confident that our low-cost operations will generate strong cash flows and value for our shareholders."

Eaves said he is looking forward to coal markets springing back in 2013.

"The trend in U.S. coal markets is improving," Eaves said. "U.S. power demand is rising in 2013, coal production continues to rationalize, and coal is regaining its share of the domestic power generation market due to the higher cost or lack of availability of competing fuels."

The company expects coal consumption for power generation to increase by 50 million tons due to the weather and rising natural gas costs. Eaves said the company will focus on improving cash flows and preparing the company to capitalize on any reversal of the market.

In its first quarter report, the company also touted its safety record in the first three months. Lost-time safety incidents were 50 percent lower over 2012's first quarter.

"We're off to another strong year for our safety and environmental performance in the first quarter, with nine operations attaining A Perfect Zero, a dual accomplishment of operating without a reportable safety incident or environmental violation," said Paul A. Lang, Arch's executive vice president and chief operating officer. "I'm proud of our employees' ongoing pursuit of our ultimate goal of A Perfect Zero at all of our sites every single day."