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Coal India eyeing one more buy in US

Even as Coal India is in advanced talks to buy around 15% stake in US-based Peabody Energy, the state-run firm is also eyeing the coal assets of another company in American state West Virginia, a top executive has said.

business Updated: Feb 13, 2011 10:48 IST

Even as Coal India is in advanced talks to buy around 15% stake in US-based Peabody Energy, the state-run firm is also eyeing the coal assets of another company in American state West Virginia, a top executive has said.

The world's largest coal producer has earmarked Rs 6,000 crore over the next 2-3 years to fuel its inorganic growth overseas and expand coal base in order to meet the country's increasing demand for fuel, the official said.

"Due diligence is on to buy up to a 15% stake in the Australian assets of US-based Peabody Energy Corp. We hope the deal will be sealed soon. We are also looking at buying some stake in another company in West Virginia. We are upbeat and aggressive about international acquisitions and have earmarked Rs 6,000 crore for the same," Coal India director (personnel and IR) R Mohan Das told PTI in Mumbai.

He, however, declined to divulge any details on the acquisition of active mines in West Virginia, saying talks are on in a preliminary stage.

The PSU's chairman and managing director, Partha Bhattacharya, had earlier said talks were on with US-based Massey Energy and Peabody. However, none of the deals has as fructified yet.

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

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

While India's annual coal demand will exceed output by 100 million metric tonnes in the next few years, the company expects to meet half the shortfall from such acquisitions, Das said.