Ramaco Resources Reports Third Quarter 2023 Results
November 8, 2023 - Ramaco Resources, Inc. (NASDAQ: METC, METCB, "Ramaco" or the "Company"), a leading operator and developer of high-quality, low-cost metallurgical coal, has reported financial results for the three months and nine months ended September 30, 2023.
THIRD QUARTER 2023 HIGHLIGHTS
- The Company had net income of $19.5 million (Adjusted EPS of $0.45, a non-GAAP measure), compared to $7.6 million (diluted EPS of $0.17) in the second quarter of 2023. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, certain non-operating expenses, and equity-based compensation ("Adjusted EBITDA", a non-GAAP measure), was $45.4 million for the three months ended September 30, 2023. This compared to $30.0 million of Adjusted EBITDA for the three months ended June 30, 2023. (See "Reconciliations of Non-GAAP Measure" below.)
- During the third quarter, Adjusted EBITDA benefited by roughly $3 million received from insurance claim proceeds in connection with the Berwind mine outage in mid-2022 and approximately $8 million received in connection with the Elk Creek silo failure in late 2018. The total net income impact was roughly $8 million (EPS of $0.18). The Company continues to seek additional insurance related payments from each of these claims.
- During the third quarter, the Company shipped 996,000 tons of coal, which achieves its previous guidance of reaching a ratable annualized sales run-rate of roughly 4 million tons this year. Overall tons sold increased 39% from the second quarter.
- During the third quarter, the Company repaid $10 million of debt related to the 2022 Ramaco Coal acquisition. Earlier this week, the Company repaid the final $10 million of debt related to the Ramaco Coal acquisition. At year-end 2023, we expect to have remaining overall debt (excluding the Revolving Credit line) of approximately $50 million, consisting of the Company's $35 million 9% Notes due in 2026, approximately $11 million of third-party acquisition-related debt related to the Maben transaction and $4 million of equipment debt. Total 2022 year-end debt was $127 million.
MARKET COMMENTARY / 2023 & 2024 OUTLOOK
- Due to stronger than anticipated third quarter shipments and overseas customer demand, the Company recently increased the midpoint of full-year 2023 coal shipment guidance to 3.25 – 3.5 million tons, up from 3.1 – 3.6 million tons previously. At the high end of guidance, this implies over 1 million tons shipped in the fourth quarter and at the low end roughly 800,000 tons.
- Recently, the Company noted that it expects cash mine costs to be at the high end of the previous $102 –108 per ton guidance range for both full-year 2023 and the fourth quarter of 2023. Given continued inflationary pressure, we now anticipate costs coming in at $108 - $112 per ton.
- In the third quarter, overall coal inventory levels (both clean and raw coal) declined almost 40% from 1.4 million tons to approximately 0.9 million tons. In the fourth quarter, the Company anticipates further reduction in inventory levels.
- In both September and October, the two section Berwind deep mine produced at a half million ton per annum run-rate, and cash mine costs were less than $80 per ton from both sections.
- For 2023, year to date the Company has committed sales of approximately 3.3 million tons, including 2.9 million tons that are fixed at an average price of $173 per ton.
- For 2024, the Company has now committed 1.3 million tons of coal to North American customers at an average price of $167 per ton.
- Last month overall mine development commenced at the Brook Mine with an initial goal of obtaining additional quantities of rare earth material for chemical and metallurgical testing. Ongoing updates on deposit and chemical assessment will be provided.
Randall Atkins, Ramaco Resources' Chairman and Chief Executive Officer commented, "Our third quarter results highlight our differentiated growth platform. In simple terms, this quarter Ramaco grew from being a company with a sales level of ~3 million tons to ~4 million tons per annum. As a result, Adjusted EBITDA grew over 50% from the second quarter, despite a decline in margins on the back of lower index pricing and market conditions.
We are also mindful of our position as one of the lowest leveraged companies in our space. As a result of our strong third quarter financials, we expect to have repaid over $50 million in term debt in 2023. Starting in 2024, we expect to have remaining overall term debt of ~$50 million (excluding any Revolving Credit line draws) and anticipate that those levels will be reduced during next year.
Additionally, due to stronger than anticipated third quarter shipments and overseas customer demand, we recently increased the midpoint sales guidance of full-year 2023 coal shipments to 3.25 – 3.5 million tons, up from 3.1 – 3.6 million tons. We continue to anticipate an ongoing working capital benefit into 2024, as prior higher levels of inventory are reduced over the next few quarters. In the third quarter inventory was reduced by 25% to $50 million compared to the second quarter.
We are increasingly optimistic about the long-term future of our Berwind mine as one of the nation's premier low vol metallurgical coal complexes. In both September and October, the main Berwind mine began hitting stride and produced at a half million ton per annum run-rate. Cash mine costs were roughly $80 per ton from both deep mine sections. As we continue to add more mine sections, we hope Berwind will become both one of the largest and among the highest margin low vol metallurgical mines in the country.
Looking ahead to next year, we tried to take a balanced approach to our 2024 domestic contract exposure. We have now committed 1.3 million tons of coal to North American customers next year at an average price of $167 per ton. This appears to be the highest average price figure of our public peer group. This level represents less than a third of our projected production for next year and positions us to leverage future export business at index-based pricing.
I would like to conclude with an update on our Wyoming activities. First, I am pleased to report that last month overall mine development commenced at the Brook Mine with an initial goal of obtaining larger quantities of rare earth material for chemical and metallurgical testing. We are now moving to a phase of extensive testing of the metallurgic and chemical compositions of the deposit to determine its nature and extent. This will guide us to the best alternatives for extraction, separation and refinement, which are key to ultimate development. We have established that we have a large rare earth deposit. The next challenge from here is the assessment of the optimal extraction and separation techniques which can be then used to estimate the mine's economics. We will continually update as this process advances.
Second, on the carbon products front, there are two exciting areas we are focusing on:
- In the wake of China's recent decision to regulate and restrict the export of graphite for EV batteries, Ramaco's multi-year research with Oak Ridge National Laboratory ("ORNL") of a revolutionary process for conversion of coal to synthetic graphite assumes added strategic importance. Our work with this innovative electrochemical technology has been done pursuant to our 5-year Cooperative Research and Development Agreement ("CRADA") with ORNL.
- Ramaco has also developed a low-cost process to produce activated carbon fiber monoliths for direct air capture and other filtering applications as well as comprehensive intellectual property rights. This quarter we established in-house melt blowing capability to produce the monoliths and activate them in larger quantities at our iCAM research center in Wyoming. We look forward to also updating the market on these activities as they advance toward future commercialization."
THIRD QUARTER 2023 PERFORMANCE
In the following paragraphs, all references to "quarterly" periods or to "the quarter" refer to the third quarter of 2023, unless specified otherwise.
Year over Year Quarterly Comparison
Overall production in the quarter was 719,000 tons, up 9% from the same period of 2022. The Elk Creek complex produced 402,000 tons, down 21% from 511,000 tons last year, while the Berwind, Knox Creek, and Maben complexes increased to 317,000 tons in the quarter, up 115% from the same period last year. Third quarter of 2023 production and costs at Elk Creek were negatively affected by an additional paid vacation week. That week was taken in July due to high inventory levels, which have since come down substantially. Total sales were 996,000 tons during the quarter, up 64% from 608,000 tons in the third quarter of 2022.
Quarterly pricing was $157 per ton on Company produced coal sold, which was 22% lower compared to $202 per ton in the third quarter of 2022. Company produced cash mine costs, excluding transportation costs were $114 per ton sold, which was 16% higher than for the same period in 2022. Cash mine costs at Elk Creek were $111 per ton sold during the quarter, up 19% from cash mine costs of $93 per ton during the same period of 2022. The increase in costs was due to continued inflationary pressures, as well as the aforementioned extra vacation week in July.
As a result of the lower realized price and inflationary headwinds, cash margins on Company produced coal were $43 per ton during the quarter, down from $104 per ton in the same period of 2022, based on non-GAAP revenue (FOB mine) and non-GAAP cash cost of sales.
Quarter over Quarter Comparison
Overall, third quarter production was down 157,000 tons to 719,000 tons compared with the second quarter of 2023, as the decline at Elk Creek more than offset the increase at Berwind and Maben. However, despite the production decline the total sales volume increased 39% from the second quarter of 2023. This was the first quarter since 2021 where the Company reduced inventory, as a result of higher sales volumes from the combination of improved rail service and the increase in the Elk Creek preparation plant capacity from 2 to 3 million tons per annum.
The realized price of $157 per ton during the third quarter was down from $163 per ton in the second quarter 2023 reflecting lower overall price market conditions. Third quarter cash costs of $114 per ton on company produced coal compared to $109 per ton in the second quarter of 2023. As a result, cash margins on Company produced coal were $43 per ton during the third quarter, down from $54 per ton in the second quarter of 2023, based on non-GAAP revenue (FOB mine) and non-GAAP cash cost of sales.
BALANCE SHEET AND LIQUIDITY
As of September 30, 2023, the Company had liquidity of $98.2 million, consisting of $42.9 million of cash plus $55.3 million of availability under our revolving credit facility. This compared to total liquidity of $49.1 million as of December 31, 2022.
Compared to December 31, 2022, accounts receivable increased by $22.5 million, and inventories increased by $5.3 million. We project a meaningful decline in inventory over the coming quarters, from increased sales levels on the back of both improved rail service and the 50% increase in processing capacity at the Elk Creek preparation plant.
Third quarter capital expenditures totaled $16.9 million. This was down meaningfully from $24.5 million in the second quarter 2023, as the majority of our near-term growth capital expenditures have now already been incurred.
The Company's effective quarterly tax rate was 22%, excluding discrete items. For the third quarter of 2023, the Company recognized income tax expense of $5.5 million. The Company anticipates an overall tax rate of 20-25% in 2023. That said, the Company anticipates a net cash tax benefit in 2023, having received a tax refund of $11.8 million in the third quarter of 2023.
To see the full results with financial figures added, click here.