After years of modest profits Whitehaven Coal is headed for a $100 million full year loss in an anaemic coal market.
While the NSW coal miner had already downgraded its forecast, it had only vaguely stated that operating profit in the first half would be below $10 million.
The result was worse, with the company posting a $47 million first half net loss on Tuesday.
It caps off a horror year and comes five days after chief executive Tony Haggarty quit, to be replaced by Paul Flynn.
Whitehaven has been the victim of an email hoax claiming it had lost funding sending the share price down, faced permit delays for its new flagship Maules Creek project and was distracted by shareholder Nathan Tinkler's failed takeover attempt and board spill.
During a conference with financial analysts, Merrill Lynch's Peter O'Connor told Mr Haggarty he thought its profit was woeful.
Mr Haggarty said there was no magic wand to wave to turn around what had been a soft market for nearly a year, but the company would graft away at costs until it inevitably did.
"I don't think anybody is making any money at these prices," Mr Haggarty said, pointing to the losses from giant BHP Billiton's own coal division this year.
"It is hard to see a turning point, but it doesn't take much by the way of increased demand from India or China or both to soak up what's there at the moment."
Whitehaven has forecast a similar result in the second half.
The company's shares fell nine six cents, or three per cent, to close at $2.91.
Morningstar equities analyst Gareth James said the result was worse than expected.
"But Whitehaven is very much a long-term story, most of the value attributable to the company is not based on near term earnings but long-term potential," Mr James told AAP.
Japan's largest electricity J-Power paid $370 million for a 10 per cent stake and coal offtake contract in highly regarded Maules Creek with Itochu holding 15 per cent.
That implied a huge valuation for Whitehaven, in contrast to its battered market value, Mr James said.
Whitehaven blamed lower coal prices and delays to its operations for the loss.
Other negative factors included a train derailment at Boggabri that cost it 250,000 tonnes, costs associated with closing the Sunnyside mine and problems with high moisture content reducing the coal quality at its Narrabri mine.
Mr Haggarty said he expects Whitehaven to effectively double production to above seven million tonnes in 2013, aiming to hit 24 million by 2017.