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Weaker met coal prices, sales drag Teck's Q3'19 earnings

Teck Resources Ltd.'s third-quarter attributable net income plummeted to C$369 million, or 66 Canadian cents per share, from the year-ago net income of C$1.28 billion, or C$2.20 per share.

The company attributed the drop to weakening commodity markets and an C$812 million after-tax gain a year ago on the sale of its interest in the Waneta Dam to BC Hydro and Power Authority.

Adjusted profit was down to C$403 million, or 72 cents per share, from C$466 million, or 80 cents per share, booked a year ago, according to an Oct. 23 release.

Average realized steelmaking coal prices decreased 9% year over year to US$156 per tonne in the third quarter. Copper and zinc prices decreased 5% and 7%, respectively, to an average US$2.63 per pound and US$1.07/lb.

Revenue slid to C$3.04 billion, from C$3.21 billion a year ago, mainly due to lower steelmaking coal prices and sales volumes. Adjusted EBITDA fell to C$1.08 billion from C$1.16 billion.

Teck sold 6.1 million tonnes of steelmaking coal in the quarter, 9% lower year over year and below the company's guidance range of 6.3 Mt to 6.5 Mt.

Sales were affected by material handling issues and planned construction outages due to ongoing facility upgrades at the Neptune Bulk Terminals (Canada) Ltd. in Vancouver, which limited the company's ability to overcome the shortfall. It expects the Neptune facility upgrades to be completed in the first quarter of 2021.

"Our third quarter sales could have exceeded the high end of our guidance range had there been no logistical issues," the company said. Production grew to 6.5 Mt from 6.4 Mt on the back of quarterly production records at the Line Creek and Greenhills operations in British Columbia and strong processing throughput at other operations.

Sales volumes in the fourth quarter are expected at 6.2 Mt to 6.4 Mt.

Additionally, the company cut its 2019 capital expenditure guidance by C$125 million, to C$1.78 billion, compared to C$1.91 billion in 2018. The cut includes targeted reductions and deferrals of capital projects in line with plans to cut costs.

Profit attributable to shareholders in the first nine months of the year dropped to C$1.23 billion, or C$2.16 per share, from C$2.67 billion, or C$4.59 per share.

Company spokesperson Chris Stannell said in an interview earlier in October that Teck has yet to nail down plans for possible cost controls such as job cuts amid "challenging conditions."