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CESC wrests back Bengal coal mine with aggressive bid

RP Sanjiv Goenka group-owned power flagship CESC justified its aggressive bidding to get back Sarisatolli coal mine as a mark of its obligation and commitment towards its customers to supply loadshedding-free power.

The Kolkata-headquartered power utility, which had lost the allocation in the wake of the Supreme Court order on coal block allocations in September 2014, has recently managed to wrest back control over the Sarisatolli coal mine in Bengal with a bid of Rs 470 per metric tonne through an e-auction process. The Sarisatolli mine has a rated capacity of 3.5 million tonnes.

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Justifying the high bidding for the first time, CESC chairman (who is also the group chairman), Sanjiv Goenka, said, “Kolkata and its adjacent areas under the CESC jurisdiction would have had 7-8 hours of power cut in this summer if we had not got back the mine. As high as 50 per cent of our coal requirement is drawn from these mines. It was our obligation towards our customers and commitment to supply 24X7 power without power-cut that led us to bid so aggressively.”

Apart from CESC, Adani Power, GMR Chhattisgarh, Sheesham Commercial Private and CESC’s own subsidiary Haldia Energy had also been in the fray. The block has so far yielded over 30 million tonne, and CESC had to pay over Rs 900 crore as levy, which the company has factored-in in its balance sheet.

CESC has notched up a stand-alone profit after tax (PAT) of Rs 698 crore in the last fiscal, up seven per cent from the previous year’s PAT of Rs 652 crore. The company has also recorded a sales growth of four per cent during the year, thereby having corresponding increase in power purchase. CESC reported a 14 per cent y-o-y increase in revenue to Rs 1,401 crore.

The company which has invested nearly Rs 10,000 crore in its distribution business over the past few years would invest another Rs 2000 crore over the next 18 months or so to improve, upgrade and expand its distribution business, Goenka said.

“Going forward, loads will go up considerably. Therefore we need to be prepared for that. The voltage fluctuations must come down. We need to focus and lay thrust on distribution. We need to have more sub-stations, more import points,” he said.


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