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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     22 October  2011

Bumi coal surges

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Bumi Resources, Indonesia's largest listed coal miner by volume, has said production of thermal coal reached 17 million tons in the third quarter, beating its output in each of the first two quarters.

Bumi sold 16.5 million tons of coal at an average price of $92 to $93 a ton in the third quarter, Dileep Srivastava, a director and corporate secretary at Bumi Resources, said on Friday.

Based on calculations using these latest figures, the Jakarta Globe estimates that the company could post as much as $1.53 billion in sales for the third quarter. Srivastava did not confirm the Globe's estimate.

Srivastava said the Jakarta-based company produced 15.2 million tons in the second quarter and 14.7 million tons in the first.

Bumi expects its net income to exceed market expectations in the third quarter and for the full year, he said.

"We will make a statement by the end of November, but we are happy to say that we have outperformed in terms of sales volume as well as production in the third quarter," Srivastava told the Globe.

The company, he added, is confident that it can beat the net income estimates of a number of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. He said the estimate was about $470 million to $480 million for the full year. Bumi's net income in the first half reached about $275 million.

Srivastava said there were no signs of slowing demand for coal in Asia and that Japan was buying more of the fuel following the shutdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after the March earthquake and tsunami.

He expects Bumi to produce 66 million tons of coal this year and sell 64 million tons, up from 60 million tons last year. He also said that the company expected to extract about 75 million tons next year.

By 2014, if all goes to plan, production should reach more than 100 million tons, he said.

Bumi has coal reserves estimated at 2.9 billion metric tons.

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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