China Shenhua Energy Co, the nation's biggest coal producer, said profit last year climbed 17 percent after it increased output to meet rising demand from power generators and steel makers.
Net income rose to 20.6 billion yuan (US$2.9 billion), or 1.11 yuan a share, from a revised 17.6 billion yuan, or 0.975 yuan, a year earlier, the Beijing-based company said in a statement yesterday. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of nine analysts was for a profit of 21.55 billion yuan. Sales rose to 82.1 billion yuan from 65.2 billion yuan.
Shenhua has benefited from rising demand in China, the largest producer and consumer of coal. The economy expanded 11.4 percent in 2007, spurring consumption of the fuel, used to generate about 80 percent of China's power. Shenhua has reserves second only to Peabody Energy Corp, the world's biggest publicly traded coal producer.
"The selling price of the company's coal rose steadily" due to increasing demand caused by economic growth in Asia, Chairman Chen Biting said.
Shenhua shares fell 2.2 percent to HK$36.15 (US$4.64) in Hong Kong last Friday. The stock has surged 81 percent in the past year, outstripping the 17 percent increase in the benchmark Hang Seng Index.
The company's coal sales last year climbed 22 percent to 209 million metric tons, and production rose 16 percent to 158 million tons, Shenhua has said. China's government estimates energy demand will rise about four percent annually to the equivalent of 2.7 billion tons of coal by 2010.
Shenhua will maintain exports at about 24 million tons, about 15 percent of production, this year, the company said in December.
(Shanghai Daily March 17, 2008)