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BMO sees coal taking bite out of Teck profit Add to ...

BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. lowered its first quarter earnings target for Teck Cominco Ltd. by 24 per cent, warning that lower-than-expected coal production will hurt the company's profit.

Analyst Tony Robson changed his estimate to 47 cents a share, down from 62 cents, saying that while the company will benefit from stronger copper prices a 25 per cent decline in metalurgical coal production will act as a drag.

"The approximate $12-billion of debt on the balance sheet continues to weigh heavily on the company's valuation and earnings," he wrote in a note to clients. "BMO Research is awaiting further action from Teck regarding asset sales, debt restructuring and a possible equity issue.

Teck reports on Monday. The average estimate, according to Thomson One Analytics, is for 44 cents a share.

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