TULSA, Okla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Alliance Resource Partners, L.P. (NASDAQ: ARLP) today announced a series of actions in response to the rapidly evolving impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The unprecedented decision by world leaders to lockdown the global economy to combat the deadly virus has crushed demand for energy. The price war initiated by Saudi Arabia and Russia has lowered oil prices even more. All Americans are having to adjust to a way of life none of us could have imagined two months ago.
Given the essential, life-sustaining nature of its business, ARLP continued to operate during the 2020 first quarter. For the past six weeks, however, we have been working at reduced levels while evaluating the needs of our customers amid the disruptions caused by the pandemic. It appears these disruptions will continue for the immediate near future and in light of the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, ARLP is taking the following actions:
- ARLP is temporarily ceasing coal production at all of its Illinois Basin mines. While this temporary idling is currently scheduled to last through April 15, 2020, the actual return to production may be accelerated or extended based upon the business needs of our customers. As the year progresses, coal production at all of our operations will be further modified to match existing sales commitments of approximately 28 million tons for 2020.
- To mitigate the reduced revenues from lower coal sales volumes and the impact of depressed commodity prices on our Minerals segment, ARLP will optimize cash flows through numerous initiatives to reduce costs, expenses, working capital and capital expenditures.
- The Board of Directors of ARLP's general partner (the "Board") has suspended the cash distribution to unitholders for the quarter ending March 31, 2020 (the "Quarter"). The Board intends to revisit this decision following the second quarter.
- ARLP is withdrawing its initial 2020 operating and financial guidance provided on January 27, 2020, which of course did not reflect the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. We currently plan to release financial and operating results for the Quarter on or about May 8, 2020, in conjunction with filing our Form 10-Q.
"It is important to note that approximately 75% of our domestic sales are targeted to states that depend on coal, more than any other fuel, to generate electricity," said Joseph W. Craft III, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "As serious as the disruption caused by the virus has been to the citizens of these states, imagine the impact if our miners didn’t show up every day to ensure the reliable supply of this essential fuel necessary to keep the lights on. We remain in constant contact with our customers and stand ready to meet their needs for this essential fuel."
Mr. Craft added, "Although we are suspending formal guidance, we currently anticipate ARLP's total sales tons for 2020 will be approximately 25% below our initial expectations. At the same time, assuming we can successfully fulfill our coal sales commitments this year, the improvements to ARLP’s cash flow resulting from the steps outlined above are expected to substantially offset lower revenues, allowing us to maintain ample liquidity and protect our strong balance sheet."
Mr. Craft concluded, "In implementing these actions, ARLP’s highest priorities remain safeguarding the employees’ health and safety, supporting the communities in our operating areas and serving our customers by continuing to safely and reliably operate our critical infrastructure. I want to thank the employees throughout our company for their dedication, resiliency and commitment during these challenging times. I also want to express my appreciation to our customers, suppliers, communities, unitholders, friends and elected officials for the sacrifices you are enduring during these uncertain times. We are all in this together. We will get through this and be stronger for it. I look forward to updating each of you as our circumstances change."
About Alliance Resource Partners, L.P.
ARLP is a diversified natural resource company that generates income from coal production and oil & gas mineral interests located in strategic producing regions across the United States.
ARLP currently produces coal from seven mining complexes it operates in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland and West Virginia. ARLP also operates a coal loading terminal on the Ohio River at Mount Vernon, Indiana. ARLP markets its coal production to major domestic and international utilities and industrial users and is currently the second largest coal producer in the eastern United States.
ARLP generates royalty income from mineral interests it owns in premier oil & gas producing regions in the United States, primarily the Permian, Anadarko, Williston and Appalachian basins.
In addition, ARLP also generates income from a variety of other sources.
News, unit prices and additional information about ARLP, including filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), are available at http://www.arlp.com. To request a copy of ARLP’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019 or for more information, contact the investor relations department of ARLP at (918) 295-7674 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The statements and projections used throughout this release are based on current expectations. These statements and projections are forward-looking, and actual results may differ materially. These projections do not include the potential impact of any mergers, acquisitions or other business combinations that may occur after the date of this release. We have included more information below regarding business risks that could affect our results.
FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS: With the exception of historical matters, any matters discussed in this press release are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from projected results. Those forward looking statements include optimizing cash flows, reducing operating and capital expenditures, preserving liquidity and maintaining financial flexibility, among others. These risks to our ability to achieve these outcomes include, but are not limited to, the following: the impact of COVID-19 both to the execution of our day to day operations including potential closures, as well as to the pandemic’s broader impact on demand for coal, oil and natural gas, the financial condition of our customers and suppliers, available liquidity and credit sources and broader economic disruption that is evolving. In addition, the actions of Saudi Arabia and Russia to decrease oil prices may have direct and indirect impacts over the near and long term to our minerals segment. These risks compound the ongoing risks to our business, including changes in coal, oil and natural gas prices, which could affect our operating results and cash flows; changes in competition in domestic and international coal, oil and natural gas markets and our ability to respond to such changes; legislation, regulations, and court decisions and interpretations thereof, both domestic and foreign, including those relating to the environment and the release of greenhouse gases, mining, miner health and safety and health care; deregulation of the electric utility industry or the effects of any adverse change in the coal industry, electric utility industry, or general economic conditions; risks associated with the expansion of our operations and properties; our ability to identify and complete acquisitions; dependence on significant customer contracts, including renewing existing contracts upon expiration; adjustments made in price, volume or terms to existing coal supply agreements; changing global economic conditions or in industries in which our customers operate; recent action and the possibility of future action on trade made by United States and foreign governments; the effect of new tariffs and other trade measures; liquidity constraints, including those resulting from any future unavailability of financing; customer bankruptcies, cancellations or breaches to existing contracts, or other failures to perform; customer delays, failure to take coal under contracts or defaults in making payments; fluctuations in coal demand, prices and availability; changes in oil & gas prices, which could, among other things, affect our investments in oil & gas mineral interests; our productivity levels and margins earned on our coal sales; decline in or change in the coal industry's share of electricity generation, including as a result of environmental concerns related to coal mining and combustion and the cost and perceived benefits of other sources of electricity, such as natural gas, nuclear energy and renewable fuels; changes in raw material costs; changes in the availability of skilled labor; our ability to maintain satisfactory relations with our employees; increases in labor costs including costs of health insurance and taxes resulting from the Affordable Care Act, adverse changes in work rules, or cash payments or projections associated with post-mine reclamation and workers' compensation claims; increases in transportation costs and risk of transportation delays or interruptions; operational interruptions due to geologic, permitting, labor, weather-related or other factors; risks associated with major mine-related accidents, mine fires, mine floods or other interruptions; results of litigation, including claims not yet asserted; foreign currency fluctuations that could adversely affect the competitiveness of our coal abroad; difficulty maintaining our surety bonds for mine reclamation as well as workers' compensation and black lung benefits; difficulty in making accurate assumptions and projections regarding post-mine reclamation as well as pension, black lung benefits and other post-retirement benefit liabilities; uncertainties in estimating and replacing our coal reserves; uncertainties in estimating and replacing our oil & gas reserves; uncertainties in the amount of oil & gas production due to the level of drilling and completion activity by the operators of our oil & gas properties; a loss or reduction of benefits from certain tax deductions and credits; difficulty obtaining commercial property insurance, and risks associated with our participation in the commercial insurance property program; uncertainties in our ability to generate sufficient cash from operations to maintain our per unit distribution level; uncertainties in our ability to meet guidance, market expectations and internal projections; and difficulty in making accurate assumptions and projections regarding future revenues and costs associated with equity investments in companies we do not control.
Additional information concerning these and other factors can be found in ARLP's public periodic filings with the SEC, including ARLP's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019, filed on February 20, 2020. Except as required by applicable securities laws, ARLP does not intend to update its forward-looking statements.