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Coal mine productivity rises across Eastern US but falls in Powder River Basin

Can ComScore Break Nielsen's Near-Monopoly On Ratings?

Most TV Everywhere Viewing Is Live TV In The Home

Consumer Insights Online Video User Overview

Public Companies Going Private


Coal mine productivity rises across Eastern US but falls in Powder River Basin

U.S. coal mines generally saw productivity rise in the second quarter, although the amount of coal produced per employee hour has fallen off sharply in the Powder River Basin since an uptick in the third quarter of 2017.

Higher productivity is generally associated with lower mining costs, a competitive advantage against coal producers that require more labor to extract the same amount of coal. As the coal sector has seen its customer base shrink, finding ways to boost productivity could mean the difference between securing a contract and closing up shop.

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Productivity across U.S. coal basins varies not only mine by mine but also based on coal mine geology, mining method and other factors.

Surface mines, for example, are generally more productive than underground mines. Surface mines in the Powder River Basin, where miners have access to seams of coal that dwarf their eastern competitors' reserves in thickness, tend to report more coal produced per employee hour. The Powder River Basin reported surface mine productivity of 25.0 tons per employee hour, while the highest level of surface mining productivity in the eastern U.S. was just 4.7 tons of coal produced per employee hour at Illinois Basin mines.

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Productivity varies widely among underground mines as well, with those deploying longwall coal mining units in places such as the Illinois Basin and Northern Appalachia basin reporting higher levels of productivity compared to other underground mines. Central Appalachia mines averaged 1.8 tons of coal produced per employee hour, while underground productivity at Illinois Basin mines was more than twice as productive at 4.3 tons per employee hour.

Underground and surface coal mine productivity increased in the second quarter of 2018 compared to the prior quarter in Central Appalachia, Northern Appalachia and the Illinois Basin. The boosts in productivity occurred even as production declined in the Illinois and Central Appalachia basins, while Northern Appalachia producers saw production and productivity rise in the period.

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Ramaco Resources Inc., a relatively new public coal company developing mines in Appalachia, showed it closely monitors productivity on its August earnings call with investors. The company highlighted its operations as being among the "most productive metallurgical deep mines in the nation," but also saw potential obstacles to maintaining that productivity in the form of employees leaving its mines for higher pay or reduced commute times.

"At this point, we are able to continue to attract highly qualified miners to fill these vacancies," Ramaco President and CEO Michael Bauersachs said. "However, the labor markets have tightened considerably. We are continuing to closely monitor turnover levels, and we will react if turnover places us in a position of losing significant numbers of key operating employees, such that our productivity and production would be negatively impacted."

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Consol Energy Inc. touted record coal production volumes at its Pennsylvania coal mining complex on its August earnings call, crediting a productivity level not seen at the complex since 2004 and improved by 13% compared to the previous quarter.

"As long as we continue to gain efficiencies and drive towards that cost efficiency and higher volumes of productivity, we could possibly raise the [EBITDA] guidance again," Consol President and CEO Jimmy Brock said.

Illinois Basin coal producer Foresight Energy LP regularly touts the productivity of its mines on calls with investors.

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"For the second quarter, all three operating mines ranked once again in the top 15 most productive underground mines in the country," Foresight President and CEO Robert Moore said Aug. 3. "On a combined basis, the Foresight operations produced over 13.8 tons per man-hour work during the second quarter. This compares to the national averages for underground mines of 4.6 tons per man-hour worked. These high levels of productivity allowed us to maintain a very low cost of $23.70 per ton."

While the Powder River Basin produces more coal than any other region in the country, it does so with relatively few miners operating surface mining machines that enable high levels of productivity. With production from the Powder River Basin down due to weak demand, fewer export opportunities than eastern producers and rainy weather in recent months, productivity declined significantly.

Both production and productivity have been steadily falling in the region since an uptick in production in the third quarter of 2017.

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Technology, Media & Telecom
Can ComScore Break Nielsen's Near-Monopoly On Ratings?

Highlights

The following post comes from Kagan, a research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence.

To learn more about our TMT (Technology, Media & Telecommunications) products and/or research, please request a demo.

Sep. 17 2018 — Advertising agencies are becoming increasingly frustrated with the inability of Nielsen Holdings PLC's Nielsen Media Research to convince the major media companies to embrace its new cross-platform measurement system, called Total Audience Measurement. This creates a huge opportunity for comScore Inc., formerly Rentrak.

ComScore is trying to reinvent itself following its delisting in 2017 — it was relisted June 1 — following an accounting scandal. The company's stock has fallen from $65 per share intraday on Aug. 17, 2015, to close at just $18.06 per share on Sept. 6. It currently has a total enterprise value of less than $1.2 billion, paltry in comparison to Nielsen Holdings' $12.9 billion.

In April, comScore named Bryan Wiener, previously executive chairman of Dentsu's digital media agency 360i LLC, as its CEO. On Sept. 5, the company announced that it hired Sarah Hofstetter to serve as president and head up commercial strategy, including sales and marketing.

Wiener and Hofstetter have worked together for two decades, most recently at 360i, where Hofstetter was CEO and chairwoman. The two executives' deep ties to the advertising community may be just what is needed to bring a competing cross-platform measurement system to the broadcast and cable network industries.

Cable network ad revenue grew for decades before stumbling, albeit modestly, during the last recession. More recently, despite a booming economy the cable network ad industry has faltered, in part due to cord cutting and cord shaving but also because current ratings do not include all of online viewing and out-of-home viewing.

Currently, the ratings only include online viewing within a three-day period, which includes the exact same commercial load as linear. Many media companies do not believe that online viewers will tolerate the huge ad load that exists on linear TV and do not include the same commercial pods that appear on linear TV when serving up the shows online.

Although negotiations between Nielsen Media Research and the major media companies have been going on for some time, many in the industry are tired of the delays in adopting a new system and are looking at alternate ways to measure viewing.

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Technology, Media & Telecom
Most TV Everywhere Viewing Is Live TV In The Home

Highlights

The following post comes from Kagan, a research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence. To learn more about our TMT (Technology, Media & Telecommunications) products and/or research, please request a demo.

Summary: subscribers to telco operators were more likely to indicate they streamed TV Everywhere content compared to cable and DBS subscribers.

Sep. 17 2018 — Streaming live TV Everywhere to a mobile device inside the home is the TV Everywhere activity most often performed at 52% of multichannel TV respondents, according to data from Kagan’s MediaCensus online consumer survey.

While 58% of respondents surveyed in multichannel homes viewed TV Everywhere in the last three months, just 46% did so out of their home. Click here for the full Kagan report.

Viewing live TV inside the home was not only the TV Everywhere activity performed by the most respondents; it was also the most frequently performed.

Subscribers to telco operators were more likely to indicate they streamed TV Everywhere content compared to cable and DBS subscribers. Subscribers to some operators are more likely to stream TV Everywhere content, with AT&T U-verse (64%) being the highest and WOW! (42%) the lowest among operator subscribers surveyed.

Younger subscribers, especially Millennials, were more likely to stream TV Everywhere content compared to older subscribers.

For more information about the terms of access to the raw data underlying this survey, please contact support@snl.com.

Data presented in this article is from the MediaCensus survey conducted in February 2018. The online survey included 20,035 U.S. internet adults matched by age and gender to the U.S. Census, with additional respondents subscribing to the top multichannel video operators in the U.S. The survey results have a margin of error of +/-0.7 ppts at the 95% confidence level. Generational segments are as follows: Gen Z: 18-20, Millennials: 21-37, Gen X: 38-52, Boomers/Seniors: 53+.

Consumer Insights is a regular feature from Kagan, a group within S&P Global Market Intelligence's TMT offering, providing exclusive research and commentary.

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Technology, Media & Telecom
Consumer Insights Online Video User Overview

Highlights

49% of survey respondents use more than one SVOD service.

Sep. 14 2018 — Data from Kagan’s U.S. online consumer surveys shows that 23% of respondents exclusively use one service, while almost half (49%) use more than one SVOD service. The service which is most commonly used exclusively is Netflix, while users of smaller services almost always use at least one other service.

Netflix is so universally used that it is both the most exclusively used service and the service most often used in conjunction with another service. In terms of demographics, Netflix users are very similar to the general population compared to smaller services that tend to have a younger user base.

With the exception of Netflix, most respondents indicated they have never subscribed to the top four services, including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and HBO NOW. Among those who indicated they dropped one of the top services, price was a principal reason for dropping, although content-specific reasons differed by service. Content is one of the most defining characteristics of online streaming services, which can be seen in the content viewed and most enjoyed on each service. In large part users of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video most enjoy the content each service is known for.

A broader overview of this data was presented in a recent webcast.

Data presented in this blog is from U.S. Consumer Insights surveys conducted in September 2017 and March 2018. The online survey included 2,526 (2017) and 2,523 (2018) U.S. internet adults matched by age and gender to the U.S. Census. The survey results have a margin of error of +/-1.9 ppts at the 95% confidence level.

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Capital Markets
Public Companies Going Private

Sep. 14 2018 — The recent tweet from Elon Musk has understandably made big news, but it is worth pointing out that the appetite for taking public companies private has been a key area of activity this year. S&P Global Market Intelligence’s data shows that 2018YTD is already at 39% of 2017 numbers, standing at €17.8bn of deal value across 32 completed deals, globally. Going-private closed deal count is at a healthy 49% compared to full 2017 numbers.

In terms of most popular sectors for going-private deals, since 2013 - Information Technology has been leading the pack with €108.9bn of aggregate deal value recorded across 104 deals, while Consumer Discretionary* is trending as a distant second with €49.7bn of total deal value.

The top target location for going private deals is the US, and interestingly – China comes in at second place, with UK following. The three regions have seen total deal size of €218.8 during the period of 2013 through 2018YTD. The popularity of these locations is further supported by the fact that after going private, average target’s EBITDA values have increased compared to when those companies were public. The US-based going private targets grew their EBITDA by average of 56% since leaving the public market, while Chinese and the UK-located companies grew EBITDA by 10% and 38%, respectively. Overall, the going private moves proved to be successful for ex-public companies globally within the 2013 – 2018YTD deals’ time frame, where their average Net Income values grew by 58% while EBITDA values grew by a smaller but yet attractive 29%.

In terms of the deal pipeline, 18 going-private deals were announced globally since 1st January 2018 and would add €25.8bn of aggregate deal value to already closed €17.8bn.

The following was originally published on Angel News on August 16, 2018: Public companies going private, S&P Global comment

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