CRP looks to acquire private miners

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 June, 2012, 12:00am

China Resources Power Holdings (CRP) is in acquisition talks with several private coal miners, as it believes falling coal prices will put pressure on small miners to consider selling out amid an industry consolidation that favours larger players. Beijing-based CRP, the most profitable listed mainland power producer, is also diversifying into renewable energy and away from its heavy reliance on coal, as state control over electricity prices and slowing growth in demand continue to squeeze the profitability of coal-fired power stations. 'With declining coal prices, we believe this year will be an opportune time to participate in consolidation of the coal industry,' said chairwoman Zhou Junxing after CRP's annual shareholders' meeting. 'We are optimistic on the coal industry's prospects and are in discussions with several private miners about acquisition.' The firm's net profit last year fell 9.2 per cent to HK$4.45 billion even as revenue grew 25 per cent to HK$60.71 billion. Benefits from a 15.8 per cent rise in power generation, a 3.6 per cent rise in average power prices and a 43.8 per cent jump in self-mined coal output were more than offset by an 11 per cent rise in coal cost per unit of power output and sharply higher finance costs. Coal costs account for roughly 70 per cent of mainland power generators' operating costs. CRP earlier indicated industry profits would improve this year as long as coal prices stayed weaker than last year. Coal prices in the nation's largest coal port in Qinhuangdao have fallen by up to 16 per cent since November, according to a Sanford Bernstein research note. Hit by the economic slowdown in the first four months of the year, CRP's power output grew 6 per cent year on year, compared with last year's 15.4 per cent growth. The 32 plants where it has controlling stakes recorded an average usage rate of 1,889 hours in the four months. When annualised to 5,667 hours, the performance trails the 5,800 hours the firm targeted for the full year, reflecting the impact of the slowing economy. The China Electricity Council, which represents large power generators, earlier this year predicted nationwide power demand would grow between 8.5 and 10.5 per cent, compared with 11.7 per cent last year. In the first four months consumption grew just 5 per cent year on year. CRP deputy chairman Zhang Shenwen said the company planned to spend 2 billion yuan (HK$2.45 billion) this year on solar and wind power projects, and also look at the feasibility of solar farms. 6% CRP's power output grew this amount for the first four months of this year, down from year-on-year figures of 15.4 per cent growth


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