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Whitehaven warns of H1 earnings slide

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AAP

2013-01-31

Whitehaven Coal has warned its first half earnings could slump to less than $10 million as weak coal markets and the high Australian dollar take their toll.

Whitehaven's warning came as it reported run-of-mine (ROM) coal production for the December quarter rose 96 per cent to 2.367 million tonnes (Mt) from the previous corresponding period.

But despite the production rise, Whitehaven expects its first half earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) will be less than $10 million.

It expects a similar result for the second half if coal markets and the high Australian dollar remain unchanged.

The company said weak coal markets and the strong Australian dollar had depressed its first half revenues.

"Whitehaven is committed to driving down costs and improving efficiencies and a key focus for management will be the continuation of reducing mine operating costs and overheads and extracting operational savings and efficiencies in the face of continuing low coal prices and the high Australian dollar," the company said in a statement on Thursday.

Whitehaven shares were 11 cents, or 3.5 per cent, lower at $3.35 at 1104 AEDT.