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Alliance CEO Craft sees need for consolidation in U.S. coal industry

first_imgAlliance CEO Craft sees need for consolidation in U.S. coal industry FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):The U.S. coal industry “needs” to consolidate in the face of difficult market conditions and sinking coal demand because of the coronavirus pandemic, Alliance Resource Partners LP CEO Joe Craft said on a May 8 earnings call.“Consolidation is needed in the coal space, and we’re a consolidator,” Craft said, commenting on options available to the Oklahoma-based coal producer to survive the uncertainty in the U.S. economy and among fossil fuel industries in particular. “Nothing [is] currently being done but it needs to happen,” he said. “Whether it does or not, I can’t predict. But that needs to happen. And we are a willing participant in that.”Craft did not specify transactions that could occur in the future. In prepared remarks at the beginning of the call, he said the company believes 2020 “will provide a new foundation for future growth of our partnership” and that “we are committed to continuing this strategy.”The drop in electricity demand created by stay-at-home orders and other social distancing efforts in the U.S. appears set to accelerate the decline of the coal industry as energy markets fundamentally transform in the wake of the crisis. Though the pandemic has yet to push U.S.-based coal-fired power plants toward earlier retirements, a Trump administration official recently told virtual attendees of a fuel buyers conference the industry may perform worse than the U.S. government’s already-grim predictions and that coal plants may retire early.Sustainability-focused think tank Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis concluded in a March report the U.S. coal sector would face pressure to consolidate, with the pandemic expected to exacerbate negative market conditions. Current coal production capacity in the U.S. is “unsustainable,” the think tank stated, and 2020 “will very likely see the beginning of a long-overdue rethinking of production capacity in the U.S.”For Alliance, the pandemic has meant withdrawing its full-year 2020 production guidance in late March and temporarily idling its coal mines in the Illinois Basin while reducing production at other mines. The company is now targeting coal sales and production for 2020 of approximately 28 million tonnes and 27 million tonnes, respectively, or 25%-30% lower than originally guided, with plans to draw down inventories in the second quarter and produce in the back half of the year to meet existing contractual obligations, Craft said. In line with losses expected for major coal producers, Alliance recorded a first-quarter attributable net loss of $144.8 million, falling year over year from a net income of $276.4 million.[Jacob Holzman]More: U.S. coal industry needs to consolidate in light of pandemic, Alliance CEO sayslast_img read more

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Plan for Retirement to Avoid Suffering in Old Age

first_imgThe Deputy Managing Director for Administration at the National Port Authority, Nyekeh Y. Forkpa, has said retirement must be legislated in order to have people retired honorably.Speaking last Sunday at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, Sinkor, Monrovia, Mr. Forkpa said there is a need to put in place the necessary regulatory framework, laws to guide any scheme that will support retirement of the people.Workers are not retiring in dignity, he feared, and some have had to settle for less than the 100 percent of the promised retirement package that was already less than 100 percent of earnings.He explained that government can participate by formulating a retirement system through legislations that will address complex issues in the retirement process, including the tax treatment of the savings, incentives for employers to set up retirement plans, encourage participation by many employees, and provide a good regulatory framework to protect the interest of workers.“Government could go further by enforcing the laws through monitoring and supervision of retirement plans and investments, and interpretation of the laws through the court system,” he further stated.According to him, Retirement planning is not only a personal responsibility but also a national obligation because Liberia will face many social problems without a strong retirement regimen and there is a need to do something about this.“In developing countries such as Liberia, many people overlook retirement planning because they expect their children to take care of them. That used to be possible, but not so now. The fact is that things have changed over the years and many children are not willing or able to support their parents in retirement,” he explained.According to him, the systems that made such reliance possible are no longer in existence. “We are no longer having many children to support us through farming. Where there are many children, they often migrate to cities in search of education and jobs; and they begin their own families and take on their own responsibilities,” he observed. “If you are one of those workers or executives who are relying on their children for retirement, you have to start rethinking because that plan could fail, leaving you to face financial hardship in your old age. This is why it is important to plan for the future. Today, you will observe that pension and retirement problems are becoming more visible in our country.” “In the case of Liberia, Government is the largest employer. So the government has the added responsibility of helping its employees prepare adequately for retirement, which will send a positive signal to other employers. The Government will have to step up its game and ensure that there is a law in place to help private employers set up retirement plans for their employees,” Mr. Forkpa suggested.The government must first set up its own program that is adequate to address the issue of income after retirement.“Some employers feel they have a social responsibility to help provide financial security for those who gave many years of hard work for the success of the company.  The Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) and the National Port Authority (NPA) are two entities that come to mind,” he explained.Mr. Forkpa continued, “The role of employers in this process includes, among others, the creation of the retirement plan, the making of contributions on behalf of employees, and the collection of employees’ contributions for remittance to the retirement plan manager. Usually, the funds are collected, accumulated and managed by professionals.” According to him, Social Security retirement benefits do not provide sufficient income for most retirees. Financial experts believe that it will take 60% to 90% of a worker’s pre-retirement income to maintain their same lifestyle in retirement. This is why government, corporate, and individual retirement plans are created to augment the pension scheme of the social security program.“A unique feature of social security retirement benefits is that they may cease at the death of the pensioner. Therefore, those who are blessed with longer lives stand to benefit more from the system. In the case of Liberia, benefits may be paid to children up to certain ages,” he said.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more