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Arch Coal CEO Sees Worldwide Coal Shortage

Global coal supply will fall short by up to 35 million tons in 2008 and the deficit is set to grow going forward, ensuring that prices remain strong, the CEO of coal miner Arch Coal said on Monday.

Coal Plant
Nati Harnik
Coal Plant

"We estimate that global supply of coal will be short between 25 and 35 million tons this year," Steve Leer told analysts at an energy conference.

The estimate differs from one given in March, in which Leer said Arch Coal estimated the world would be between 30 and 40 million tons short of coal this year.

"We will end up using more and more coal going forward," he told analysts at the April 6-10 Howard Weil Energy Conference in New Orleans.

He said very strong international markets were leading a strong domestic market.

Big Profit Jump Seen

Arch Coal expects big growth in per-share earnings this year, Leer said.

Earnings per share were seen coming in at $2.00 to $2.50 in 2008, up sharply from $1.21 last year, Leer said at the presentation.

In other financial highlights, he said 2008 EBITDA was seen between $680 million to $790 million, a jump from $472 million in 2007.

He said capital spending was also seen sharply higher, at between $310 million to $340 million, compared with $258 million last year.