(Yicai Global) Jan. 31 -- Shenhua Energy Co., China's largest coal producer, expects net profits of CNY45.2 billion (USD7.14 billion) for 2017, almost double that of the year before, driven by an increase in coal demand as well as relatively high prices of the commodity.
The Beijing-based group initially reports coal sales of 444 million tons for last year, up 12.4 percent annually, while commercial coal output was 295 million tons, a rise of 1.9 percent, Shenhua stated in its preliminary financial review released yesterday.
Shenhua anticipates total power generation of 262.87 billion kilowatt-hours for 2017, annual growth of 11.4 percent. Financial performance was boosted by an average coal sale price in the first three quarters of CNY422 per ton, up 50 percent compared to the same period of the year before.
Two other major Chinese coal companies also issued their profit forecasts for last year yesterday. Shaanxi Coal Industry Co. expects to report a net profit of between CNY10 billion-CNY10.6 billion, representing a 263-285 percent surge in growth annually, while Yanzhou Coal Mining Co. estimated its own net earnings as between CNY3.99 billion and CNY5.07 billion, up 193-245 percent on the year.
The high coal price has led to losses among thermal power enterprises with five of nine A-listed companies expecting to enter the red. Among them, state-owned power giant Huadian Energy Co. estimates net losses of CNY1.05 billion to CNY950 million.
The polarity seen in the coal power industry is mainly attributed to the lack of linkage in the market, one market analyst said. At present, the coal price is totally dependent on the market, while power prices are still set by the government. Therefore, soaring coal prices do not affect the power prices sufficiently, which can only be adjusted through administrative measures.