Banpu expects power unit to drive 2016 profit

Thailand’s Banpu, who have recently diversified into power generation, expect profits for its business to be driven by that unit this year.

The country’s largest coal miner, Banpu Pcl, sees a rising income from its power business and a recovery in global coal prices, Chief Executive Somruedee Chaimongkol said on Thursday.
The company is targeting a profit of $70m from its two major power plants this year, Somruedee told reporters. The company had incurred a total net loss of $44.18m last year.

It has diversified into power and renewable energy to minimise the impact from a coal price rout, and owns stakes in BLCP Power, a 1,434 MW coal-fired power plant in eastern Rayong province, and a 1,800 MW Hongsa power plant in Laos.

Banpu expects its power generating capacity to rise to 2,000 MW by the end of the year, from it current capacity of 1,900 MW, mainly from solar farms in China.

The company also said it signed agreements on Thursday with China's Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and Techen Technologies (Thailand) to develop solar power in Thailand.

The move is part of Banpu's drive to boost the proportion of its renewable power to be at least 20 per cent of its target capacity of 4,300 MW by 2025, the company said in a statement.

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