UPDATE 2-Miner Peabody’s Q1 oper profit beats estimates

* Adj EPS 52 cents v Wall St view 41 cents

* Revenue rises to $1.52 bln from $1.45 bln

* Stock slips in premarket trading
(Adds CEO comments, outlook, production data)

NEW YORK, April 22 (BestGrowthStock) – Coal miner Peabody Energy
Corp (BTU.N: ) said on Thursday that first-quarter operating
profit rose, beating Wall Street estimates, because of higher
prices and volumes of steel-making coal from its Australian
mines.

Peabody, whose coal fuels 10 percent of U.S. electricity
generation and 2 percent of worldwide electricity, said it
planned to increase Australian production of metallurgical coal
this year because of robust demand from global steelmakers.

“With rising Australian volumes and pricing and a growing
global trading and brokerage business, we have enormous
capacity to capitalize on expanding Asian coal demand,” said
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gregory Boyce.

“We have the leading position in the lowest-cost U.S.
regions, with leverage to improving prices as the economy
recovers.”

First-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation
and amortization (EBITDA), rose 10 percent to $357.2 million
and adjusted earnings, excluding items, were 52 cents per
share, the St Louis-based company said.

Net income was $136.7 million, or 50 cents per share,
compared with $175.2 million, or 63 cents per share, a year
earlier. Revenue rose to $1.52 billion from $1.45 billion.

Analysts on average were expecting adjusted earnings of 41
cents per share and revenue of $1.516 billion, according to
Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company’s stock slipped 85 cents to $45.75 in
electronic trading before the New York Stock Exchange opened.

Peabody said it continues to target 2010 sales of 240
million to 260 million tons, including U.S. sales of 185
million to 195 million tons and higher Australian sales of 27
million to 29 million tons.

The company is targeting 2010 EBITDA of $1.6 billion to
$1.9 billion with adjusted earnings of $2.45 to $3.15 per
share, excluding currency remeasurement. Analysts currently
expect full-year 2010 earnings of $3.06 per share.

“We anticipate higher revenues and earnings from new
contract settlements and rising metallurgical coal volumes in
Australia,” said Boyce.

Peabody, which has expanded operations in Australia in
recent years, is currently trying to acquire Australian coal
miner Macarthur Coal Ltd (MCC.AX: ).

Stock Trading

(Reporting by Steve James, editing by Dave Zimmerman)

UPDATE 2-Miner Peabody’s Q1 oper profit beats estimates