Peabody Raises 2011 Outlook

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Peabody Energy, the largest U.S. coal producer, said its second-quarter profit jumped 38% to $284.8 million, or $1.05 cents per share, from $206.2 million, or 76 cents, a year earlier as revenue climbed 21% to $2.01 billion. Analysts were expecting a profit of 63 cents a share on revenue of $2.02 billion.

The bullish results helped Missouri-based Peabody (BTU) raise its full-year profit outlook to $4.20-$4.60 a share, well above previous guidance of $3.50-$4.50 a share. Peabody left its 2011 production outlook unchanged at 245 million to 265 million tons of coal, including 28 million to 30 million tons from Australia and 195 million to 205 million tons from the U.S., according to the Associated Press.

The company said it remains confident in its plan to acquire Australia's Macarthur Coal, the world's largest maker of pulverized coal. Earlier this month, Peabody announced it was partnering with Arcelor Mittal (MT), the world's largest steelmaker, to make a $5.1 billion for Macarthur. The Australian company rejected a $3.4 billion bid by Peabody last year.

The deal could be a potentially lucrative one for Peabody given Australia's proximity to Asian markets where metallurgical coal is in high demand. Peabody already has the largest Australian presence of any U.S. coal producer.

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