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Income tax expense adjustment helps push James River Coal to $28.5 million …

RICHMOND, Va. — James River Coal Co. reported a fourth-quarter loss as results were dragged down by an income tax expense.

The company said Thursday that its net loss was $28.5 million, or 82 cents per share, compared with net income of $25.9 million, or 93 cents per share, a year earlier.

The company recorded a tax expense adjustment of 77 cents per share for reducing the book value of deferred tax assets. It cited changes in the coal markets for the adjustment. The 2010 quarter included an income tax benefit of 79 cents per share.

Without the tax item, the company would have lost 5 cents per share. Analysts, who usually exclude items, expected a break-even quarter, according to FactSet.

Revenue from coal sales doubled to $321.8 million. Including freight and handling, revenue was $357.2 million. Analysts expected $327.1 million.

Chairman and CEO Peter T. Socha said the company was “cautious and realistic about the current soft market conditions.”

Coal shipments rose 60 percent, to 3.3 million tons from less than 2.1 million tons a year earlier.

Chairman and CEO Peter T. Socha said the company was “cautious and realistic about the current soft market conditions.”

In recent weeks, some coal companies have cut their forecasts for production. Demand for coal used in power generation has been hurt by low prices for natural gas, causing some utilities to switch to gas. And the financial crisis in Europe has reduced demand there for U.S. coal, according to analysts.

James River, however, forecast 2012 shipments of 9.5 million tons of Appalachian coal and 2.7 million to 2.8 million tons from the Midwest. That would be increases from 9.3 million and 2.5 million, respectively.

For the full year, the company posted a loss of $39.1 million, or $1.19 per share, on revenue of $1.18 billion.

In morning trading, shares of the company added nearly 15 percent, or 83 cents, to $6.56.



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