Earnings at US metallurgical coke producer SunCoke Energy were up by more than 60% year-on-year in the third quarter, boosted by the start-up of a new plant in Ohio.

SunCoke saw its adjusted earnings, before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) rise by $27.6 million to $72.4 million in the third quarter of 2012 due to the start-up of its Middletown facility in Ohio, USA.

The Lisle, Illinois-based company reported a third-quarter net income of $31.6 million, up from $18.2 million in the third quarter of 2011.

“Our entire US cokemaking fleet continued to deliver strong results, with our new Middletown facility fueling a significant portion of the increase,” said chairman and ceo Fritz Henderson.

“Our coal mining segment finished the quarter up slightly as a result of higher sales prices and volumes and [the] favourable impact of a contingent consideration adjustment. However, higher production costs and reject rates offset most of this benefit,” he added.

“In light of the continuing weak coal environment, we are taking more aggressive action to reduce costs and improve productivity in our coal mining business to position ourselves for 2013,” he concluded.

SunCoke has cokemaking operations in Illinois, Indiana, Middletown, Ohio, and Virginia.

Stacy Irish