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ASHLAND COAL EXPECTS LOWER EARNINGS

 HUNTINGTON, W.Va., March 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Ashland Coal, Inc. (NYSE: ACI) reported today that as a result of higher-than-anticipated operating costs in the first two months of 1993, it expects that earnings for the first quarter of 1993 will be significantly below the 41 cents fully diluted earnings per share reported for the first quarter of 1992.
 The higher costs are due to lower-than-expected equipment availability at Dal-Tex Coal Corporation, the previously reported difficult mining conditions at Mingo Logan Coal Company's longwall mine, and the required adoption of new accounting standards for post- retirement benefits and income taxes. In addition, pursuant to an agreement among members of the Bituminous Coal Operators' Association (BCOA), Hobet Mining, Inc. and two subsidiaries of Dal-Tex, which were not struck during the recent selective strike by the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), made payments for the benefit of BCOA members that were struck. Each of these Ashland Coal subsidiaries could be required to make further payments under this agreement if a later selective strike not involving it occurs during negotiation of a successor agreement to the UMWA-BCOA 1988 National Bituminous Coal Wage Agreement. This Wage Agreement has been extended to May 3, 1993.
 It had been expected that the average cost of sales in the first quarter of 1993 would be lower than such costs in the same quarter of 1992. Although the Dal-Tex equipment availability problem experienced in the first two months of 1993 and the difficult mining conditions at Mingo Logan have been overcome, the company's average cost of sales per ton for the first quarter of 1993 is expected to be about the same as that of 1992's first quarter. Lower costs at Mingo Logan and at Dal- Tex, which was acquired in April 1992, have offset higher costs at other operations. However, Mingo Logan and Dal-Tex costs had been expected to be even lower, thus offsetting the expected decrease from last year's level in average selling price. This offset does not now appear likely in the first quarter of 1993.
 Ashland Coal, Inc. is engaged in the mining, processing and sale of low-sulfur coal, and markets its coal principally to electric utilities in the eastern United States and into the export markets.
 Mingo Logan Coal Company, Dal-Tex Coal Corporation and Hobet Mining, Inc. are independent operating subsidiaries of Ashland Coal, Inc.
 -0- 3/16/93
 /CONTACT: David G. Todd of Ashland Coal, 304-526-3755/
 (ACI)


CO: Ashland Coal, Inc. ST: West Virginia IN: MNG SU: ERP

WB-CK -- NYTU001 -- 6383 03/16/93 08:05 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Mar 16, 1993
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