SunCoke 3Q earnings soar on higher prices, volume

LISLE, Ill. -- SunCoke Energy posted a 74 percent jump in third-quarter net income thanks to more robust sales of coke at higher prices.

The company easily topped Wall Street profit expectations for the quarter, but shares slid 2 percent with revenue for the quarter and a full-year outlook that fell short.

The company earned $31.6 million, or 45 cents per share, compared with $18.2 million, or 26 cents per share, a year ago.

Revenue rose 19 percent to $480.5 million. SunCoke said revenue was largely driven by sales at a new facility.

Analysts expected a profit of 40 cents per share on revenue of $486.7 million.

Coking coal, also called metallurgical coal, is used in steel making. Demand has held up better than thermal coal, which is used to produce electricity and has been impacted by last year's mild winter and low natural gas prices.

The company's coal segment results improved slightly due to higher prices and sales volume, but higher production costs and rejection rates offset most of that gain, SunCoke said.

The company also said it expects full year per-share earnings of between $1.30 and $1.40. Wall Street was looking for something closer to $1.44 per shares.

"In light of the continuing weak coal environment, we are taking more aggressive actions to reduce costs and improve productivity in our coal mining business to position ourselves for 2013," the company said.

Shares of SunCoke Energy dropped 35 cents to $16.10 in afternoon trading.