ST. LOUIS (AP) — Patriot Coal Corp.’s first-quarter loss widened as demand softened for coal used by utilities to generate electricity due to unseasonably warm weather in the United States and the company incurred a larger restructuring charge.

The coal company reported Tuesday that it lost $75.3 million, or 82 cents per share, for the three months ended March 31. That compares with a loss of $15.9 million, or 17 cents per share, a year earlier. Patriot absorbed restructuring charges of $32.9 million mostly because the company closed its Big Mountain complex in Boone County, W. Va. Analysts polled by FactSet expected a loss of 36 cents per share.

Revenue fell 13 percent to $502.6 million from $577 million due to fewer tons of coal sold. This missed Wall Street’s average estimate of $552.8 million. Patriot said that heating degree days were 21 percent below normal levels in the quarter because of the unseasonably warm weather. The company also said that it has restated its 2010 and 2011 financials in response to a Securities and Exchange Commission review.

During the review process Patriot received SEC comments on its accounting treatment related to costs to install a fluidized bed reactor and ABMet water treatment plants at two of its mining complexes. The St. Louis company said its restated results so that it would accrue a liability and recognize a loss for the estimated costs of installing the water treatment plans instead of recording the cost of the two facilities as a capital expenditure. These adjustments will increase the asset retirement expense and result in a $49.7 million loss for 2010 and a $23.6 million loss for 2011. It also increases the 2011 first-quarter loss by $600,000.

© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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