China coal-fired power plants' profit down 33 pct

BEIJING, March 30 Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:45am BST

BEIJING, March 30 (Reuters) - China's coal-fired power plants made a profit of 1.34 billion yuan ($196 million) in the first two months of this year, down 32.6 percent from an year earlier, the National Development and Reform Commission said on Monday.

But power suppliers, or grid operators who control both power transmission and distribution networks, lost 2.46 billion yuan in the January-February period, compared with a profit of 5.64 billion yuan a year earlier, the commission said in a release on its website (www.ndrc.gov.cn).

It did not provide any explanation for the declines.

Chinese power generating firms, which on average rely on coal-fired power plants for 80 percent of production, have warned or reported losses for 2008 due to a sustained increase in coal costs.

China Power Investment Corp, one of China's five major state-owned power generating groups, made a loss of 300-400 million yuan a month in January and February despite declining coal prices, a company executive had said. [ID: nPEK23336]

Power firms had refused to sign any deals in the annual talks in December with coal miners who asked for higher coal prices due to rising production costs and a tax increase.

But coal supplies to power plants appeared to have not been interrupted as coal shipments continued despite prices not being fixed, industry officials said. ($1=6.835 Yuan)

(Reporting by Jim Bai, Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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