RICHMOND, Va., Jan. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Massey Energy Company (NYSE: MEE) announced today that its produced coal shipments in the fourth quarter of 2010 were lower than projected in earlier guidance. The Company stated that produced tons sold for the quarter totaled 8.9 million tons, bringing the full year 2010 total to 37.1 million tons. The total produced tons sold in the fourth quarter were approximately 1.4 million tons lower than the levels incorporated in Massey's most recent guidance issued in October 2010. The lower produced tons sold in addition to charges related to the former CEO's retirement and impairments related to idled or closed mines will result in an operating loss that is greater than was previously expected.
"We have great mines and the best of miners, but the challenges of the past three quarters have been difficult," said Baxter F. Phillips, Jr., Massey's Chief Executive Officer and President. "We must mine coal safely and strive to minimize regulatory violations. We are committed to improving our performance in 2011."
The 1.4 million ton shortfall in fourth quarter coal shipments was largely attributable to lower than anticipated production, inconsistent rail service and delays of export shipments at the ports during the quarter. Total coal production for the quarter fell short of expectations by approximately 800,000 tons. Fewer production shifts in deep mines, which were down by about 8 percent versus prior expectations, accounted for approximately half of the production shortfall. The remainder of the production shortfall resulted from lower than expected productivity from deep mines and highwall miners and higher ratios at surface mines.
Massey Energy Company and its Board of Directors continue the process of reviewing the Company's strategic alternatives. Massey will announce its fourth quarter and full year 2010 results on February 1, 2011, after the market closes.
Massey Energy Company, headquartered in Richmond, Va., with operations in West Virginia, Kentucky and Virginia, is the largest coal producer in Central Appalachia and is included in the S&P 500 Index.
FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS: Certain statements in this press release constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and are intended to come within the safe harbor protection provided by those sections. Any forward-looking statements are also subject to a number of assumptions regarding, among other things, future economic, competitive and market conditions. These assumptions are based on facts and conditions as they exist at the time such statements are made as well as predictions as to future facts and conditions, the accurate prediction of which may be difficult and involve the assessment of circumstances or events beyond the Company's control. The Company disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements unless required by securities law, and the Company cautions the reader to not rely on them unduly. Caution must be exercised in relying on forward-looking statements including disclosures that use words such as "believe," "anticipate," "expect," "estimate," "intend," "may," "plan," "project," "will," and similar words or statements that are subject to risks, trends and uncertainties that could cause the Company's actual results to differ materially from the expectations expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements. Factors potentially contributing to such differences include, among others: the Company's cash flows, results of operation or financial condition; the successful completion of acquisition, disposition or financing transactions; the impact of the Upper Big Branch mine explosion and the effect thereof on our business; our ability to successfully integrate the operations we acquire, including as a result of the acquisition of Cumberland; governmental policies, laws, regulatory actions and court decisions affecting the coal industry or our customers' coal usage; legal and administrative proceedings, settlements, investigations and claims and the availability of insurance coverage related thereto; inherent risks of coal mining beyond our control, including weather and geologic conditions or catastrophic weather-related damage; inherent complexities make it more difficult and costly to mine in Central Appalachia than in other parts of the United States; our production capabilities to meet market expectations and customer requirements; our ability to obtain coal from brokerage sources or contract miners in accordance with their contracts; our ability to obtain and renew permits necessary for our existing and planned operations in a timely manner; the cost and availability of transportation for our produced coal; our ability to expand our mining capacity; our ability to manage production costs, including labor costs; adjustments made in price, volume or terms to existing coal supply agreements; the worldwide market demand for coal, electricity and steel; environmental concerns related to coal mining and combustion and the cost and perceived benefits of alternative sources of energy such as natural gas and nuclear energy; competition among coal and other energy producers, in the United States and internationally; our ability to timely obtain necessary supplies and equipment; our reliance upon and relationships with our customers and suppliers; the creditworthiness of our customers and suppliers; our ability to attract, train and retain a skilled workforce to meet replacement or expansion needs; our assumptions and projections concerning economically recoverable coal reserve estimates; our failure to enter into anticipated new contracts; future economic or capital market conditions; foreign currency fluctuations; the availability and costs of credit, surety bonds and letters of credit that we require; the lack of insurance against all potential operating risks; our assumptions and projections regarding pension and other post-retirement benefit liabilities; our interpretation and application of accounting literature related to mining specific issues; our assumptions concerning economically recoverable coal reserve estimates, and the successful implementation of our strategic plans and objectives for future operations and expansion or consolidation.
Additional information concerning these and other factors can be found in press releases and Massey's public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including Massey's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009, which was filed on March 1, 2010 and subsequently filed interim reports. Massey's filings are available either publicly, on the Investor Relations page of Massey's website, www.masseyenergyco.com, or upon request from Massey's Investor Relations Department: (866) 814-6512 (toll free). For further information, please visit Massey's website at www.masseyenergyco.com.