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Suncoke Energy Partners, L.p.  (SXCP)
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    Sector  Basic Materials    Industry Iron & Steel
 


 

Suncoke Energy Partners, L.p.

Business Description


SunCoke Energy Partners, L.P., is a Delaware limited partnership formed in July 2012, which primarily produces coke used in the blast furnace production of steel. Coke is a principal raw material in the blast furnace steelmaking process and is produced by heating metallurgical coal in a refractory oven, which releases certain volatile components from the coal, thus transforming the coal into coke. We also provide coal handling and/or mixing services at our Coal Logistics terminals to steel, coke (including some of our domestic cokemaking facilities), electric utility and coal mining customers.


Domestic Coke consists of the Haverhill, Middletown and Granite City cokemaking and heat recovery operations located in Franklin Furnace, Ohio; Middletown, Ohio; and Granite City, Illinois, respectively.

Coal Logistics consists of our Convent Marine Terminal ("CMT"), Kanawha River Terminals, LLC ("KRT") and SunCoke Lake Terminal, LLC ("Lake Terminal") coal handling and/or mixing service operations in Convent, Louisiana; Ceredo and Belle, West Virginia; and East Chicago, Indiana, respectively. Lake Terminal is located adjacent to SunCoke's Indiana Harbor cokemaking facility.

Our coke sales agreements have an average remaining term of approximately nine years and contain pass-through provisions for costs we incur in the cokemaking process, including coal and coal procurement costs subject to meeting contractual coal-to-coke yields, operating and maintenance costs, costs related to transportation of coke to our customers, taxes (other than income taxes) and costs associated with changes in regulation. When targeted coal-to-coke yields are achieved, the price of coal is not a significant determining factor in the profitability of these facilities, although it does affect our revenue and cost of sales for these facilities in approximately equal amounts. However, to the extent that the actual coal-to-coke yields are less than the contractual standard, we are responsible for the cost of the excess coal used in the cokemaking process. Conversely, to the extent our actual coal-to-coke yields are higher than the contractual standard, we realize gains. As coal prices increase, the benefits associated with favorable coal-to-coke yields also increase. These features of our coke sales agreements reduce our exposure to variability in coal price changes and inflationary costs over the remaining terms of these agreements.


Our coke prices include both an operating cost component and a fixed fee component. Operating costs under three of our coke sales agreements are passed through to the respective customers subject to an annually negotiated budget, in some cases subject to a cap annually adjusted for inflation, and we share any difference in costs from the budgeted amounts with our customers. Under our one other coke sales agreement, the operating cost component for our coke sales are fixed subject to an annual adjustment based on an inflation index. Accordingly, actual operating costs in excess of caps or budgets can have a significant impact on the profitability of all our domestic cokemaking facilities. The fixed fee component for each ton of coke sold to the customer is determined at the time the coke sales agreement is signed and is effective for the term of each sales agreement. The fixed fee is intended to provide an adequate return on invested capital and may differ based on investment levels and other considerations. The actual return on invested capital at any facility is based on the fixed fee per ton and favorable or unfavorable performance on pass-through cost items.


The coke sales agreement and energy sales agreement with AK Steel at our Haverhill facility are subject to early termination by AK Steel under limited circumstances, such as AK Steel permanently shutting down operation of the iron production portion of its Ashland plant and not acquiring or beginning construction of a new blast furnace in the U.S. to replace, in whole or in part, the Ashland plant's iron production capacity, and provided that AK Steel has given at least two years prior notice of its intention to terminate the agreement and certain other conditions are met. No other coke sales contract has an early termination clause. As part of our omnibus agreement, SunCoke will provide indemnification to the Partnership upon the occurrence of certain potential adverse events under certain coke sales agreements, indemnification of certain environmental costs and preferential rights for growth opportunities.

   

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