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Coal Asia eyes investment in coal-fired power plant.

Byline: Doris C. Dumlao

SHARES of Coal Asia Holdings soared by 50 percent on its stock market debut yesterday, on optimism over its vast coal reserves and its prospective diversification into power generation and gas exploration businesses.

Coal Asia--which raised P800 million from the sale of shares at a par value of P1 each--hit the maximum price ceiling on the Philippine Stock Exchange to close at P1.50 each. About P427.3 million worth of Coal Asia shares changed hands.

The offering was oversubscribed about three times over.

"Coal Asia provides the investor an opportunity to participate in a promising greenfield project--touted to have the second largest reserves in the country and become the market leader in high-grade bituminous coal, with possible expansion into power generation. The project coincides with an opportune intersection for the coal and energy industry--existing power shortage, increasing demand for supply and higher-grade coal requirement and the possible export ban (by 2014) on imported coal, " said stock brokerage DA Market Securities.

Coal Asia's equity buildup after this IPO is seen to allow subsidiary Titan Mining and Energy Corp. to complete its exploration and mine development activities in the Mindanao area. The net proceeds from the IPO are earmarked to bring its Davao Oriental mine into production by 2014 and its Zamboanga, Sibugay mine by 2015.

In a statement, Coal Asia said the project would also enable the company to supply enough coal to meet the expected explosion in demand by large scale energy producers and cement plants.

Dexter Tiu, a director at Coal Asia, said the company was in talks for a possible investment in a planned coal-fired power plant to be put up beside its Davao Oriental mine. He said the company was talking with two local groups for the building of a 100- to 200-megawatt power plant that would use the coal production of the Davao Oriental mine.

Coal Asia is also in talks to acquire a stake in VenturOil, which has interests in oil fields off the coasts of Palawan, as part of its planned diversification into oil and gas exploration.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Oct 24, 2012
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