Grande Cache Coal Q4 loss widens to $4.7M from year-ago $2.6M, revenue falls

Grande Cache Coal Q4 loss widens to $4.7M from year-ago $2.6M, revenue falls

Grande Cache Coal Corp. says its fourth-quarter loss widened to $4.7 million from a year-ago $2.6 million as revenue fell to $13.8 million from $27 million amid transport problems.

Bad weather, a labour dispute and track disruptions during the quarter restricted the amount of coal that could be moved to the port by CN Rail (TSX:CN), limiting metallurgical coal sales to about 100,000 tonnes.

The loss for the quarter ended March 31 amounted to 10 cents a share, compared with six cents per share a year earlier, the Calgary-based company reported Wednesday.

For the full year, Grande Cache slashed its loss to $7 million or 14 cents per share from $31.2 million or 79 cents a share in the previous year. Annual revenue rose to $101.3 million from $90.1 million.

“During the fourth quarter, our rail service provider experienced a combination of severe winter weather conditions and labour unrest that led to dramatically reduced rail service,” said CEO Robert Stan.

“We were very disappointed by these developments, as were other shippers of bulk commodities. Not being able to rail our product to the loading terminal resulted in unexpectedly low customer shipments and rapid inventory buildup at the mine.”

This forced the temporary suspension of mining and processing activities, Stan said.

“Since the beginning of April, we have seen improved rail service. Further improvement is anticipated and will be required for us to meet all of our customers’ shipping requirements and load the vessels that are currently scheduled.”

Grande Cache Coal said it has sold 200,000 tonnes of hard coking coal in the first 45 days of the current first quarter, more than twice the amount sold in the fourth quarter.

Hard coking coal sales accounted for 42 per cent of total sales volume in the fourth quarter and carried an average price of $103 per tonne.

The cost of coal produced was $68 a tonne, a 36 per cent decline from $98 per tonne last year.

Grande Cache Coal operates a mining operation that produces metallurgical coal for the steel industry and holds coal leases covering over 22,000 hectares in the Smoky River Coalfield in west-central Alberta.

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