TULSA — For once, Alliance Resource Partners LP managed to finish ahead of the company that owns all of its assets.
Alliance ranked No. 5 on this year's Oklahoma Inc. list of the top public companies in the state, one slot ahead of general partner Alliance Holdings GP LP on the strength of an 81.3 percent increase in total returns.
Both companies are fixtures on the list, finishing among the top seven companies each of the past three years.
“ARLP and AHGP are honored to again be recognized for our financial performance as one of Oklahoma Inc.'s top 10 publicly traded companies,” CEO Joseph W. Craft III said.
Craft said ARLP and AHGP are master limited partnerships that offer investors two ways to pay for a stake in the performance of Alliance Coal LLC, the fourth largest producer and marketer of coal in the eastern United States.
ARLP often is the choice of investors seeking immediate dividends.
“Over the past year, Alliance successfully increased production and sales volumes predominantly through the expansion of our River View mine in the Illinois Basin,” he said.
“Our coal supplies were met with strong customer demand for Alliance coal qualities, both domestically and abroad.
“This resulted in higher average sales prices per ton sold and increased revenues, and allowed us to grow distributions to both ARLP and AHGP unit holders.”
Craft said Alliance expects to post its 11th consecutive year of record financial performance in 2011, but officials still aren't satisfied.
“We have already identified additional growth opportunities,” he said.
Alliance's Tunnel Ridge mine, which is under construction in West Virginia, is expected to begin production next year.
The company recently announced two additional development projects: the Gibson South mine in Indiana and an investment in White Oak Resources, a longwall mining operation being built in Illinois. Both are expected to be in production by 2014.
“With the strength of this lineup, Alliance is excited about the future,” Craft said.