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Santa will not bring coal to CNX until 2018, says analyst

CNX Coal Resources LP will have to "wait for its lump of coal" until 2018, according to analysts.

In a recent company update from FBR & Co., analyst Lucas Pipes maintained an "outperform" rating for CNX Coal.

The CEO of CONSOL Energy Inc., the sponsor of CNX Coal, said recently that the parent company hopes to complete splitting its gas and coal assets sometime in 2017.

CNX Coal holds a 25% interest in CONSOL's Pennsylvania Mining Complex, which includes Enlow Fork, Bailey and Harvey mines, and holds a "right of first offer" on the remaining interest in the complex as well as the Baltimore Marine Terminal.

The Harvey and Bailey mines produced more coal in the third quarter of 2016 than in the same period last year.

CONSOL's base assumption is to start drops of the complex to CNX Coal in 2018, although this may occur sooner depending on market conditions. CONSOL reiterated its openness to other options to divest its remaining coal options, such as a spinoff or making an initial public offering of a C corporation.

CNX Coal gave FBR & Co. guidance for 2017 and 2018 guidance of coal sales of 6.25 million tons to 6.75 million tons, and in 2017, an EBITDA of $90 million to $110 million. "In addition, the company provided 2016 and 2017 maintenance CapEx guidance of $15 million to $19 million and $30 million-$36 million, respectively," Pipes said.

Pipes said assuming CONSOL coal liabilities could be a potential form of currency for CNX Coal.

"CONSOL's remaining legacy liabilities in the coal space were also mentioned as a potential form of currency for CNXC in exchange for asset drop-downs, which, we believe, could be an interesting pathway for both entities," Pipes said. "Underappreciated, we think, by CNX's investors is the fact that the company guided to $74 million-$79 million in payments towards long-term liabilities in 2017, down from $95 million in 2016."