Friday, January 3, 2014

Follow CONSOL Energy's Transformation

This article was originally published by TheStreet

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- CONSOL Energy (CNX_) is one of the oldest and largest players in the American coal industry, operating since the days of President Lincoln. Although the company has been the largest producer of coal from underground mines in the United States, it has been working to reduce its exposure to coal in favor of natural gas. 
It has recently received the anti-trust clearance related to the sale of its coal mines in West Virginia while at the same time identifying thousands of natural gas locations at Marcellus Shale and will drill 120 wells this year.
Following a drop in income in 2012, and persistent weakness in market conditions, investors expected the current year to be a tough one. It was. According to its recent quarterly results, in the first nine months of 2013, CONSOL Energy swung from an income of $239 million in 2012 to a loss of $78 million in 2013. 
However, CONSOL Energy is a company in transition using the cash flows from its struggling coal division to expand its natural gas and NGL operations, where it sees its long-term future. Despite current woes, in the long run the company could yield significant returns for the shareholders due to the considerable increase in its gas output on the back of divestitures, drop in coal capital expenditure and strong liquidity.