UK Coal says it is back in the black after four years

BRITAIN’S biggest coal company UK Coal has posted its first profit for four years, but the group’s debt levels remain a concern.

Pre-tax profits at UK Coal were £22.2m, up from a loss of £92m last year.

Revenue also rose, increasing from £141m to £256m over the same period.

But the group’s net debt remained high at £207.3m, despite a drop of £34.9m from last year’s figure, as the company absorbed some of the proceeds from recent property disposals.

The firm’s real estate sell-off in the first half came close to satisfying disposal targets the whole of 2011.

Production in the first half rose to 4.1m tonnes of coal from 2.7m tonnes in the corresponding period of 2010.

UK Coal chairman Jonson Cox, who joined the firm in November, said: “I am pleased to report on reasonable progress. Production has improved and revenues over the period have increased 81 per cent.”