Coal India eyeing one more buy in West Virginia

Mumbai, Feb 13 (PTI) Even as Coal India is in advancedtalks to buy around 15 per cent stake in US-based PeabodyEnergy, the state-run firm is also eyeing the coal assets ofanother company in American state West Virginia, a topexecutive has said.

The world''s largest coal producer has earmarked Rs6,000 crore over the next 2-3 years to fuel its inorganicgrowth overseas and expand coal base in order to meet thecountry''s increasing demand for fuel, the official said.

"Due diligence is on to buy up to a 15 per cent stakein the Australian assets of US-based Peabody Energy Corp. Wehope the deal will be sealed soon. We are also looking atbuying some stake in another company in West Virginia. We areupbeat and aggressive about international acquisitions andhave earmarked Rs 6,000 crore for the same," Coal IndiaDirector (Personnel and IR) R Mohan Das told PTI here.

He, however, declined to divulge any details on theacquisition of active mines in West Virginia, saying talksare on in a preliminary stage.

The PSU''s Chairman and Managing Director, ParthaBhattacharya, had earlier said talks were on with US-basedMassey Energy and Peabody. However, none of the deals has asfructified yet.

While Peabody Energy is the world''s largest privatesector coal firm with 246 million tonnes (MT) of sales and 9-billion tonnes of reserves in the US and Australia, MasseyEnergy is the fourth-largest coal company in the US with 40million tonnes of sales and 2.3 billion tonnes of high-qualitycoal reserves. .

Besides, the company is looking at buying mines in Indonesia in order to meet the growing demand for coal, mostlyin the power sector.

While India''s annual coal demand will exceed output by100 million metric tonnes in the next few years, the companyexpects to meet half the shortfall from such acquisitions, Dassaid.

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