Analysts have upgraded their earnings forecast for Yanzhou Coal Mining after the mainland's most profitable miner recorded strong sales growth last year. The better than expected figures were a major factor behind the H-share's 9.79 per cent rise yesterday to HK$7.85, brokers said. At least two European brokerages and one regional brokerage yesterday raised their forecast on Yanzhou Coal's net profit growth for last year to about 12 per cent at 1.36 billion yuan, from 7 per cent originally. They also predicted a more prosperous year this year, raising their net profit forecast to 40 per cent at two billion yuan, from 20 per cent originally. The upgrade came after the coal miner revealed it was committed to deliver an aggregated 41.42 million tonnes of coal this year, or 5.1 per cent above last year, based on contracts and letters of intent. The committed coal volume was charged at an average 198.52 yuan per tonne, 9.9 per cent above last year. The H-share also said last year's sales volume grew 12.4 per cent to 39.41 million tonnes, fuelled mainly by China's thirst for the commodity as a result of its rapid economic growth. 'The figures are better than I thought. I am revising my forecast for last year and this year,' a European brokerage analyst said. A Thomson First Call poll showed a consensus of net profit growth of 9.83 per cent to 1.34 billion yuan last year and 20 per cent to 1.61 billion yuan this year. Analysts said Yanzhou Coal management anticipated supply and demand for coal would achieve a balance this year as smaller mines, mostly in Shanxi, would gradually resume operation after resolving maintenance and safety issues. However, some were concerned profitability would not be maximised if it reduced exports.