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Natural Resource Partners Touts VantaCore Aggregates Segment


Natural Resource Partners reported net income from continuing operations attributable to the limited partners for the three months ended June 30, 2016, of $47.7 million, or $3.90 per unit, an increase of $13.3 million, from $34.4 million, or $2.82 per unit, a year earlier.

Net cash provided by operating activities from continuing operations was $23.2 million in the second quarter of 2016, a decline of $20.2 million compared to the prior year. Adjusted EBITDA, a non-GAAP measure, was $81.6 million for the three months ended June 30, 2016, an increase of $10.4 million compared to 2015.

"Our second quarter results were positively impacted by the proactive management of our coal assets, as we were able to reduce our liabilities for deferred revenue by $35.5 million and recognize a corresponding amount of revenue through negotiated forfeitures by several of our lessees of rights to recoup previously paid minimum royalties," said Wyatt Hogan, president and chief operating officer. "Our aggregates and soda ash businesses continue to provide stability and diversification to our asset base and, while the coal markets are still quite challenging, we are starting to see some initial signs of firming thermal and metallurgical coal prices. In addition, with the closing of our oil and gas sale in July, we were able to generate an additional $116.1 million in cash proceeds to be directed towards our deleveraging objectives. We have made substantial progress in this regard, and continue to be focused on right-sizing our balance sheet through cost management and additional asset sales with an eye towards the ultimate refinancing of our 2018 debt maturities."

The company's VantaCore's construction aggregates mining business is largely dependent on the strength of the local markets that it serves and is seasonal. The largest component of the VantaCore segment is the Laurel operation in southwestern Pennsylvania that serves producers and service companies operating in the Marcellus and Utica shales.

Low natural gas prices have led to a slowing pace of exploration and development in those areas and impacted Laurel's revenues. This decline has been offset both by increased construction revenue at Laurel and reduced costs across all of the VantaCore operations. In addition, McIntosh Construction has seen nearly a 30 percent rise in the second quarter and is expected to remain strong during the summer and fall months.

Revenues and other income related to the VantaCore segment decreased $9.3 million, or 23 percent, from $41.0 million in the three months ended June 30, 2015, to $31.7 million in the three months ended June 30, 2016. This decrease was primarily the result of a reduction in revenue at Laurel related to the brokered stone business including reduced delivery income quarter-over-quarter and lower sales going into the Marcellus.

The reduction at Laurel was partially offset by increased construction revenues; an increase at VantaCore's McIntosh operation in Tennessee; as well as, increases related to the Grand Rivers quarry in Kentucky. Tonnage sold declined 10 percent or 0.2 million tons quarter-over-quarter to 1.8 million tons.

Net income from continuing operations was relatively flat quarter over quarter, decreasing $0.2 million, or 6 percent, from $3.6 million in the three months ended June 30, 2015, to $3.4 million in the three months ended June 30, 2016. Notwithstanding the decrease in revenue and other income described above, VantaCore's net income was able to remain relatively flat as a result of reduced material costs and overhead.