Czech miner NWR sinks to €1bn loss

By bne IntelliNews February 13, 2014

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Central European coal miner New World Resources (NWR) extended the misery on February 13 as it shocked with an announcement of a €465m loss in the fourth quarter of 2013, to end the full year with a pre-tax loss of over €1bn.

The struggling company, which also slashed estimated recoverable reserves by around two-thirds, said a €497m asset write-down was to blame for the result in the final three months of last year. The company said the underlying loss was around €34m, which was in line with consensus. The company's full-year net loss was €970.3m, compared with a loss of €48.6m in 2012. That huge widening of the loss comes on the back on continued weakness in global coal prices.

The ongoing pressure on the company pushed it in January to announce it has opened talks with shareholders and creditors regarding its capital structure. However, the financial statement was not accompanied by any details on that process.

"The prolonged and unprecedented global pressure on both coking and thermal coal prices, the expiry of our RCF credit line and the likely downward revision of our coal resource and reserve balance (as a direct result of the deterioration in the long-term coal price outlook), triggered the board's decision to initiate a review of NWR's capital structure on 22 January 2014," the company said in its statement.

Analysts at Erste Bank suggest that despite the loss of close to €1bn, the massive cuts in production over the next few years is the most disappointing element, as the company is likely to continue to struggle whatever happens on the wider markets. "We see the results clearly negative due to the fall in recoverable coal reserves," they write. "One can expect fast production decline after 2014, [which] will put further pressure on NWR's operations regardless of coal prices."

While guidance for 2014 remained at 9.5m tonnes, long term, the company expects its production to fall progressively to 4m tonnes in 2021 and to 2m in 2023.

"NWR lowered its estimated recoverable coal reserves in running mines from 184Mt to just 64 Mt (7.2 years average life)," the analysts add. "This is far below our 145Mt estimate."

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