Despite a year-on-year drop in coal shipments, Cloud Peak Energy (CPE), which operates exclusively in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, reported a respectable $35.3 million net income for the quarter. For the period ended June 30, the company reported total revenue of $174.2 million with 11.9 million tons sold. That is compared to $244.1 million in revenue and 16 million tons sold for the comparable 2015 quarter.

The company’s earnings, released July 28, had some other interesting contributors, including $18.8 million (about 97%) of its adjusted earnings coming from revenues from contract buyouts. Additionally, its numbers revealed that export shipments have fallen for the company from 1.4 million tons in the first quarter of 2015 to 200,000 tons in the first quarter of this year, and now nothing for the second quarter. CPE exported 2.4 million tons in 2015.

Despite the mixed-bag quarter, CPE’s response to the results was generally positive. “After very low shipments in April and May, we started to see improved shipments in June and are optimistic that this trend will continue during the second half of the year,” said CPE President and CEO Colin Marshall. “Our financial performance during the quarter benefited from buyouts by three customers and the impact of reduced reclamation cost assumptions on our asset retirement obligations. Once again, our sites did a very good job of controlling costs during the quarter as we reacted to very low shipments.”

CPE blamed seaborne thermal coal’s continued weak international prices for its flattened exports. “We have begun to see stability in international supply and demand and a significant increase in prices for both near-term and out-year seaborne thermal coal,” the company said, adding that Chinese imports for thermal coal have risen and there is also growing demand from other areas of Asia including Vietnam, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. Looking ahead at the remainder of the year, CPE officials said they foresee a balancing out of supply and demand.

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