Russian miner Raspadskaya (RASP.MM) said on Wednesday both output and pricing for its coking coal dropped sharply in the fourth quarter as demand from steel makers slumped in the wake of the global financial crisis.
Raspadskaya, part-owned by steel maker Evraz Group (HK1q.L), said in a statement raw coal production totalled 1.39 million tonnes, down 57 percent from 3.26 million tonnes a year earlier.
Average coal concentrate prices in the period were $120 per tonne, up 29 percent from $94 in the fourth quarter of 2007.
However, coal concentrate prices were off 46 percent compared with the third quarter of 2008.
Having all necessary technological means, Raspadskaya had planned to significantly increase its production volume from October 2008, the company said in the statement.
But the global financial crisis and its impact on Russian metallurgical industry led to a considerable decrease in sales volume as well as in sales prices.
The company said in November fourth-quarter sales would reach only one-third of planned volumes after steel makers slashed orders. [ID:nLC631958]
It also only received payment for 21 percent of shipments because of clients' liquidity woes. [ID:nLC631958]
As a result, Raspadskaya is struggling to preserve cash.
Last month it said it would pay out no more than 25 percent of consolidated net profit for its final 2008 dividend. [ID:nLT489361]
Previously, the company's policy was to pay out not less than 25 percent of consolidated net profit and in the first half of the year its payout ratio was 70 percent.
Wednesday's statement did not provide a detailed outlook for 2009, although Chief Executive Gennady Kozovoy said his company believed in the gradual recovery of demand from steelmakers.
Raspadskaya, which floated shares in Moscow in November 2006, operates one open-cast and two underground mines in the western Siberian region of Kemerovo. Another underground mine is under construction.
The miner is owned 80 percent by Corber Enterprises, a joint venture between its management and Evraz, Russia's largest steel maker by domestic volume. (Reporting by Alfred Kueppers; editing by Sue Thomas)
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