Net income rose to US$124.2 million, or $1.12 per share, compared to $106.6 million or 82c in the year-earlier period.
Adjusted to account for discontinued operations, earnings came to $1.15 per share, up from 83c in the comparable year-earlier period. The results were better than average Wall Street analyst forecasts that called for earnings of 29c per share.
The company, which sells thermal and coking coal, reported revenue of $1.25 billion in the period, matching forecasts, but down from $1.46 billion a year earlier.
The company's adjusted EBITDA fell by $110 million over the comparable year-earlier period to $253.9 million, mainly owing to lower seaborne metallurgical coal volumes, costs associated with the North Goonyella incident and lower Powder River Basin coal shipments.
CEO Glenn Kellow said the quarter was characterised by a "leading performance" from the new Shoal Creek mine, significant margins in the seaborne thermal business and maximum North Goonyella insurance recoveries, which combined, overcame an unusual set of first-quarter challenges across the logistics chain.
"In light of our strong ongoing cash flow generating capabilities, Peabody also returned more than $300 million in cash to shareholders during the quarter, which included deployment of another tool in the capital allocation kit through the payment of a $1.85 per share supplemental dividend in March," he said.
"Looking ahead, Peabody is implementing multiple strategies to create value," said Kellow. "We are continuing to reweight our investments toward greater seaborne thermal and metallurgical coal access to capture higher-growth Asian demand.
"We are optimising our lowest-cost and highest-margin US thermal assets in a low-capital fashion to maximise cash generation. We are executing our financial approach of generating cash, maintaining financial strength, investing wisely and returning cash to shareholders."
Peabody expects a strong second half of 2019 to contribute more than half of full-year adjusted EBITDA, driven by increased PRB, seaborne thermal and seaborne metallurgical coal volumes as well as reduced metallurgical coal costs. The second quarter performance is expected to reflect the impact of two longwall moves in Australia, with PRB shipments in line with the first quarter as rail recoveries offset the impact of typical shoulder season demand.
Peabody shares have dropped about 12% since the start of the year, taking the 12-month decline to 26%. The company lost another 5.11% or $1.47 in early Wednesday afternoon trading in New York.