(05/04/2009)
Massey Coal's shares soared this week after the coal producer announced plans to slash wages and benefits for all miners and company employees.

About 6,700 workers are affected.

The 6% cuts will trim the payroll between $50 million and $60 million and cut costs about $1.30 per ton, according to CEO Don Blankenship.

"We've been able to avoid significant layoffs or at least significant permanent layoffs, prefer to reduce the pay and increase the productivity if we can and maintain it," said Blankenship.

Blankenship is among the coal industry's highest paid executives, receiving compensation valued at $19.7 million in 2008.

The cuts came a day after Massey said it earned $43.4 million, or 51 cents per share, in the first quarter, compared with $41.9 million, or 52 cents per share, a year earlier.

Total revenue climbed to $768.1 million from $644.6 million.

Massey is the nation's fourth-largest coal producer by revenue, operating mines in West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky.


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