By Ilya Khrennikov
June 25 (Bloomberg) — Siberian Coal Energy Co., Russia’s largest producer of the fuel, said it plans to raise exports by 10 percent this year on higher demand from Asia.
The Moscow-based company, also known as SUEK, exported 12.2 million metric tons of coal in the first five months of 2009, 11 percent more than a year earlier, Deputy Chief Executive for Strategy Anna Belova said in an interview yesterday in Moscow.
“Asian demand is growing and will continue to grow,” she said. SUEK is seeking to boost the Asian share of its total exports to at least 40 percent this year, from 25 percent in 2007, Belova said.
SUEK, which is owned by Russian billionaires Andrei Melnichenko and Sergei Popov, has long-term contracts to supply Asian customers including Korea Electric Power Corp., South Korea’s biggest utility, and Electric Power Development Co., Japan’s largest electricity wholesaler. That’s helping SUEK to buck the trend of falling Russian exports. The country will post a “double-digit” percentage decline this year, Belova said.
Russia, the world’s third-largest coal producer, recorded a 9 percent drop in exports to 37 million tons in January through May, according to CDU TEK, a unit of the Energy Ministry. Moscow-based SUEK reduced its production by 8 percent to 34 million tons in the period as Russian electricity consumption fell because of the country’s economic contraction. Some domestic utilities also switched from coal to gas to generate electricity after natural-gas prices dropped.
The share of natural gas among the fuels used by Russian electricity generators may rise as much as 3 percent this year, Belova said.
SUEK’s exports benefited from its long-term contracts with Asian utilities and the start earlier this year of exports through its coal terminal in Vanino in the Khabarovsk region, Belova said.
Japan has the potential to receive more imports from Russia. It imports 123 million tons of coal a year, of which just 3 million to 4 million tons comes from Russia, Belova said.
“It’s a very important market for us,” she said.
SUEK, which says it’s the world’s fifth-largest coal exporter, had sales of 92 billion rubles ($3.1 billion) last year, according to its annual report. That excludes $1.2 billion of revenue from its utility units, Belova added.
SUEK controls two utilities in Siberia, OAO Kuzbassenergo and OAO Yenisei Territorial Generating Co., which help it to secure domestic coal sales. The utilities together consume about 20 percent of SUEK’s coal production, Belova said. SUEK is considering whether to acquire other utilities in Russia, she added.
Xstrata Plc is the world’s biggest coal exporter, followed by PT Bumi Resources, BHP Billiton Ltd., and Anglo American Plc, according to data compiled by SUEK.
… jelas xstrata tetap mengungguli bumi dalam tren keperkasaan harga sahamnya …