Banpu Plc, Thailand's biggest coal miner, expects average coal prices next year to be higher than this year's price of US$97 per tonne, thanks to higher regional demand.
Chief financial officer Somruedee Somphong said the company would secure 50% of next year's coal sales contracts by next month.
The company this year expects to sell 40 million tonnes of coal, with 25 million from its five mines in Indonesia. Of the 15 million tonnes sold in Australia, 35% is exported. Mrs Somruedee said the target next year would be 16 million tonnes with 40% exported.
"This will cause average selling prices to increase, as export prices are higher than prices in the domestic market," she said yesterday.
Sales from Indonesia next year are forecast to rise to 27 million tonnes.
Banpu, which last year acquired Australia's Centennial Coal Co, expects a minimal impact from Australia's new clean energy act, which will impose carbon taxes starting in July. It estimated the law would add only 30 cents a tonne to Centennial's cost of production.
Meanwhile, Banpu expects its most recent acquisition of Perth-based Hunnu Coal to be finalised by December. Production will start in 2013 at 3-5 million tonnes per year initially.
Banpu's net profit in the third quarter of this year totalled 4.21 billion baht, a 68.4% decrease from 13.28 billion in the same period last year. However, last year it had an extraordinary gain from selling an 8.72% stake in PT Indo Tambangraya Megah Tbk worth 11.7 billion baht.
Net profit in the third quarter was down 33% from the second quarter.
Nine-month consolidated net profit was 16.53 billion baht (60.83 baht a share), compared with 19.76 billion (72.70 baht a share) in the same period last year.
Sales revenue in the third quarter totalled 30.69 billion baht, a rise of 16.99 billion baht or 124% from the same period last year due to a 117% increase in volume to 10.94 million tonnes.
The average selling price of coal from the company's Indonesian mines rose 27% year-on-year in the third quarter to $98.99 per tonne.
Revenue from coal sales is 96% of total sales revenue, which includes 20.7 billion baht from sales in Indonesia, 8.83 billion from Australia and 8 million from Thailand, where the company's mines are almost depleted.
Revenue from electricity sales from its three plants in China as well as other revenue totalled 1.15 billion baht or 4% of total sales.
CEO Chanin Vongkusolkit said profit margin in the third quarter for the coal business was 47%, with higher sales in Indonesia and rising prices.
BANPU shares closed yesterday on the SET at 580 baht, down two baht, in trade worth 636.55 million baht.