Saturday, March 7, 2009

Thai Banpu to invest $208 mln in Indonesia, China

* To invest $208 mln on Indonesian, Chinese operations

* Plans 6-7 bln baht bonds in Q2 to refinance debt (Updates with quotes, details)

By Wilawan Pongpitak

HUA HIN, Thailand, March 6 (Reuters) - Thailand's top coal miner, Banpu BANP.BK, said it would spend $208 million this year to develop its existing coal mines in Indonesia and China.

"What we're doing this year is to focus on improving our existing assets during this tough time of economic downturn," Chief Executive Chanin Vongkusolkit told reporters.

Of the total investment, $126 million would be spent on developing its coal business in Indonesia, where it is the fourth-biggest coal miner, and the rest would go to China, Chanin said.

The development projects in Indonesia include its Bontang port expansion and coal-fired power plant, and infrastructure at its Bharinto mine, the company said in a statement.

On Friday, its Indonesian unit, PT Indo Tambangraya Megah Tbk (ITMG.JK), posted a more than fourfold jump in 2008 net profit, driven by higher coal prices. [nJAK484964]

The $82 million to be invested in China will be at the Gaohe mine in Shanxi province, in which it has a 45 percent stake.  Continued...

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