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Bukit Asam targets 30% increase in sales

State-run coal miner PT Bukit Asam (PTBA) is optimistic it can grow its sales volume to 33 percent this year supported by better rail transportation and seaports, the construction of which is slated to finish this year.

“We plan to increase our sales volume to hit 24 million tons this year under an assumption that the Tanjung Enim-Prabumulih double-track railway starts operation in the end of the first quarter or the second quarter of this year, and Tarahan port also starts services this year,” PTBA president director Milawarma said after a shareholders meeting on Monday.

PTBA sold 18 million tons of coal and booked Rp 13.08 trillion (US$1 billion) in total revenues last year.

The Tanjung Enim-Prabumulih double-track route in South Sumatra is being developed by state-owned railway company PT KAI with a total investment of Rp 3 trillion. The railway is set to operate by the end of this month or in the second quarter of this year.

According to a PTBA statement, KAI was already committed to transporting as much as 18.79 million tons of coal belonging to the miner this year, an increase from 14.85 million tons last year.

In addition, if the development of Tarahan port is completed this year, the port would be able to accommodate around 210 million tons of coal from the current 70,000-80,000 tons, Milawarma said.

He told reporters that with the increasing amount of his company’s total sales volume, its revenues would also surge by around 33 percent this year.

The increase in revenues would also be partly the result of the weakening of the rupiah against the US dollar, as most of the company’s revenues were in US dollars, he said.

“Around 85 percent of our operational costs are in rupiah, while between 60 and 65 percent of our revenues is in US dollars,” Milawarma said.

From the company’s total sales volume of 18 million tons last year, 48.3 percent was shipped overseas, with the largest importers including China, India, Japan, Malaysia and Taiwan, according to the company’s report.

To further boost its revenues, the company also aims to continue diversifying its business by developing a number of new power plants, including a 2 x 620 megawatt (MW) mine-mouth power plant in Banko Tengah, Muara Enim, with a total investment of $1.6 billion, of which 75 percent will come from facility loans from the Export-Import Bank of China (CEXIM).

PTBA finance director Achmad Sudarto added that his firm was also carrying out a feasibility study for its plan to build power plants in Myanmar and Vietnam. Total investment for a 2 x 300 MW power plant in each country stands at around $300 million.

“We hope that the power plants can operate in 2019,” he said, adding that Myanmar and Vietnam would become his company’s captive markets in the future.

Milawarma said that his company would spend Rp 5 trillion in capital expenditure for routine operational activities and expansion this year, a surge from only Rp 2.2 trillion last year.

PTBA’s dividend payout ratio stood at 35 percent of its net profits last year, the lowest level over the last 12 years. –

Source : www.thejakartapost.com, Tuesday 31 March 2015