Rising coal prices slash profit of power producers

China’s power producers were feeling the pinch of soaring coal prices with more and more companies starting to report huge losses in the first half.

Of the 31 power producers who had released profit forecasts for the first half, 19 expected losses and six forecast profit decrease, the Wind Info, a provider of financial data, said on Sunday.

Shanghai Electric Power Co, which suffered the heaviest losses, forecast 560 million yuan ($82.11 million) in losses in the first half, compared with a net profit of 211 million yuan during the same period of 2007.

The Huaneng Power International Inc, the listed arm of China Huaneng Group, also forecast losses early this week. According to the China Securities News, the company would lose 500 million yuan in the first half as the rising coal price added one billion yuan in fuel costs.

The government has raised retail electricity price by 0.025 yuan per kwh starting from July 1. Prices directly related to people’s livelihoods, however, remained unchanged, including public transport, taxis and household electricity.

The price increase, however, could only cover 15 percent of the losses in coal-fired power plants, said a Citic Securities analyst.

source: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn 21 July 2008

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