The company, according to President and CEO, Mr Ahmed A.R. Buhari, has a 30 per cent share of the imported coal market in India.

Our Bureau

Chennai, Aug. 29

COAL & Oil Company L.L.C., a Dubai-based global company that is into supplying imported coal, plans to acquire a coal mine in Indonesia, according to its President and CEO, Mr Ahmed A.R. Buhari.

He told reporters here on Monday that the mine would have a capacity of about 8 million tonnes and the company hoped to complete the acquisition in six months.

This acquisition would help Coal & Oil Company (CNO) get a captive source of coal for supplying to its customers. The company's focus would continue to be India, where it did bulk of its business, he said.

The company, according to him, has a 30 per cent share of the imported coal market in India, supplying to leading companies such as Tata Power, Reliance Energy, Malabar Cements Ltd, Ahmedabad Electricity Company Ltd and a number of State electricity boards.

He said that the company participated in competitive bids invited by electricity boards and also had long-term supply agreements with companies such as Tata Power.

Over time, CNO hoped to become an integrated energy company - mining coal, supplying coal from its own mine and from other sources, transporting coal through its own ships, providing inland warehousing and logistics facilities and setting up independent power projects, Mr Buhari said.

CNO has been promoted by the promoters of the ETA-Ascon group and the Al Rostamani group. He said that in 2004-05, the company supplied five million tonnes of coal (mainly steam coal) and recorded a turnover of Rs 1,300 crore. This year it hoped to supply 8.5 million tonnes of coal, of which seven million tonnes would be to India, with its turnover increasing by about Rs 300 crore. The company sourced coal from various countries, including Russia, Indonesia and Australia.

Mr Buhari said that the company was predominantly a steam coal importer and was now looking to supply coking coal to the steel industry. It was in dialogue with Steel Authority of India Ltd for this.

He cited research reports by some international banks to say that India's coal deficit was expected to go up to 160 million tonnes in 2010 from about 23 million tonnes now. Apart from electricity boards, the other main importers of coal in India were captive and independent power plants, sponge iron industries, cement companies and the steel industry.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated August 30, 2005)
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