Ririn Radiawati Kusuma
State coal company Perusahaan Tambang Batubara Bukit Asam said its output would increase 34 percent to 17.6 million tons this year as it acquires miners in the sector, a top executive said on Monday.
Sukrisno, president director of PTBA, said this year’s production target was part of the company’s drive to boost ouput to 50 million tons annually in four years.
“We are doing this step-by-step until we reach that 50 million target in 2015,” Sukrisno said during a hearing at House Commission VII, which oversees energy issues.
Sumatra-based PTBA plans to spend about Rp 1.8 trillion ($200) to finance expansion plans this year, including acquisitions of two coal miners operating out of Kalimantan.
“Our minimum target is to to acquire two coal companies,” spokesman Achmad Sudarto told reporters, although he declined to name the firms. “We want to acquire at least a 51 percent stake in both companies.”
Norico Gaman, an analyst from Bank Negara Indonesia Securities, said that PTBA’s purchases of other firms should boost its position as one of the country’s top coal producers.
“The acquisition plan is a positive action for PTBA. It shows that the company is in healthy condition,” he said.
Norico also said the company’s rising coal production paired with surging fuel prices would greatly increase PTBA’s position in the sector.
Cece Ridwanullah, an analyst from Ekokapital Securities, said increasing demand from China and India along with PTBA’s acquisitions would be a winning combination.
“With this acquisition plan, PTBA will be able to see its profit increase this year,” he said.
The company’s profit was Rp 1.4 trillion through September last year, while revenue was Rp 5.9 trillion.
PTBA also has ambitions to build power plants to support its operations and build a railway to transport fuel from its center of production in Tanjung Enim to seaports in South Sumatra’s Tarahan Bay, Sukrisno said.
“The construction of the railway is expected to be completed in 2014,” he said.
The 307-kilometer railway, a joint venture dubbed the Bukit Asam Transpacific Railway, is estimated to cost $1.65 billion and will be financed by partners PTBA, holding a 70 percent stake in the project, and Rajawali Group, which will own the remainder.Land acquisition is now underway.
Sukrisno said PTBA would also upgrade the capacity of the existing coal railway in Sumatra this year to transport 22.7 million tons annually. “In total, we are expecting to carry 82.7 million tons per year by 2015,” he said.
State-railway operator Kereta Api Indonesia currently handles PTBA’s coal shipments, carrying 11.5 million tons a year.
The company also plans to build two electrical plants to power its mining operations in Sumatra. The plants will have a combined capacity of 230 megawatts.
PTBA is also launching a project to extract 0.8 trillion cubic feet of coalbed methane this year.
Shares of the miner fell 2 percent to Rp 19,750 by the close of trading in Jakarta.