Coal India output, sales rise as power plants rebuild stockpiles

(Bloomberg) — Coal India Ltd.’s shipments rose 4.8 percent from a year ago and output increased for a seventh straight month as power plants bought up fuel to replenish stockpiles and meet increasing demand for electricity.

Sales totaled 49.97 million metric tons in February, according to a stock exchange filing Thursday. Production rose 0.3 percent from a year ago to 54.46 million tons. Output in the first 11 months of the year ending in March advanced 1.4 percent, while sales were up 7 percent, lagging the company’s annual targets.The Kolkata-based state miner, which accounts for more than 80 percent of India’s coal output, has seen production rise year-on-year every month since August as power plants, its biggest customers, seek to build inventories. Sales in January reached a record.

Some power plants, including those of state-run generator NTPC Ltd., are facing coal shortages, data from the Central Electricity Authority show. The company’s non-power customers, including cement and aluminum makers, are witnessing a bigger shortfall and are relying more on imports as Coal India prioritizes supplies for electricity.

(Written by Rajesh Kumar Singh)