Patriot Coal Corp. dropped the most in four months after cutting a week-old forecast for sales of steelmaking coal mined in Appalachia because of a potential default by a customer.
The shares fell 12 percent to $4.24 at 11:12 a.m. in New York. Earlier they slid 13 percent, the biggest intraday decline since Jan. 13, to the lowest since April 2009.
Patriot’s sales of Appalachian metallurgical coal in the second quarter through the fourth quarter that have already been priced are anticipated to be 3.9 million tons at an average of $142 a ton, the St. Louis-based company said in a statement after the close of trading yesterday. That compares with a May 8 projection of 4.9 million tons at $138 a ton.
Patriot revised its forecast for 2013 Appalachian metallurgical coal sales that have already been priced to 200,000 tons at $122 a ton, from 400,000 tons at $120 previously.
Patriot also produces thermal coal, which is used to generate electricity, in Appalachia and the Illinois Basin region. The company said May 8 its total 2012 sales volume will be 25 million to 27 million tons.
The shares fell 43 percent this year through yesterday amid a decline in U.S. coal shipments to power stations as some utilities switch to natural gas, which fell to a 10-year low last month.
Patriot said last month it will idle its Freedom mine in Kentucky, citing weaker demand for thermal coal. In February, the company idled its Big Mountain complex in West Virginia in February, which produced 1.8 million tons of thermal coal last year.
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