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Alliance Resource Partners says Trump restoring faith in coal

Alliance Resource Partners LP finished 2016 in a self-described "impressive fashion," boosted by a recent upward trend in U.S. coal markets. President and CEO Joseph Craft III said President Donald Trump could usher in even more good times in coal markets going forward.

Craft said on a Jan. 30 earnings call that the partnership is hopeful that a Trump administration will work to "reduce the overreaching regulatory burden that has plagued the coal industry for the last eight years."

"A return to more rational environmental and energy policies should provide clarity and stability to coal markets and potentially set the stage for growing coal demand in the future," Craft said. "With our low-cost strategically located operations, strong market presence, robust distribution coverage and conservative balance sheet, ARLP is well positioned to deliver industry-leading performance and value for our unitholders for the foreseeable future."

Craft also suggested that since Trump was elected, banks are looking more favorably at the coal industry. Brian Cantrell, CFO and senior vice president, said the Trump victory is even inspiring confidence in former workers who went to other industries to come back to the coal mines.

"A lot of folks that had really taken jobs in other industries were quick to come back and said they want to come back in the coal business because of the outlook and the expectation," Craft said. "And I give credit to the election for this. And I believe that the Trump administration does appreciate the value that coal-fired electricity brings to the nation."

Alliance reported net income of $119.6 million on Jan. 30 on improved coal sales volumes and lower operating expenses.