Coal is a fossil fuel, consisting of volatile matter, inherent moisture and important combustible mixture of carbon. After combustion with the volatile matter and inherent moisture driven out, small portion of coal ash remains. Coal is found in various forms or grades based on the contents of heating or calorific value, volatile matter and fixed carbon, representing in descending order of quality in 4 groups from (1) anthracite, (2) bituminous, (3) sub-bituminous, and (4) lignite. The indigenous coal deposits in that have been explored and extensively developed for local industries in Thailand are generally of lignite grade. Imported coal is mostly of bituminous grade which contains higher calorific value than lignite coal produced in Thailand.
The price of coal is usually determined based on the quality of coal, consisting of calorific value, moisture, volatile matter, fixed carbon, ash, sulfur and size.
Coal is formed in several stages from plant remains that have been compacted, hardened, chemically altered and metamorphosed by heat and pressure over millions of years. Therefore, in order to develop a coal mine, coal exploration works are required for the collection and interpretation of geological data in order to learn about the thickness of coal seams, boundary areas of the coal resource, chemical content and quality, and economic reserve estimation. The development of coal deposit is generally based on the information and data obtained from these exploration programs. Accordingly, the production of coal consists of following three major steps:
Coal Pricing Policy
Coal pricing is mainly determined by its heating value, similar to other type of fuels. Coal sale price for each customer varies depending on certain factors such as order volume, coal specifications such as calorific value, credit term and other conditions specified by the customer. These factors shall be used to determine the coal price fairly and similarly with all the customers. The price for imported coal is based on the agreement with each customer which can either be priced on FOB or CIF basis, or priced as delivered to the customer’s factory, etc.
For coal distribution in the domestic market, the Company directly sells coal directly to customers without going through agent. As for the overseas market, coal are sold directly to the customers or through coal trading agents, mostly on the credit term basis, of which the Company carefully provides credit terms only for the long time customers with stable financial status. For new customers, the Company protects the risk by having a letter of credit (L/C) opened by the customer. Since the start of operation in 1985, the Company has encountered very few bad debts from the sales of coal.
The Company focuses mainly on the service and quality control of the coal products as its marketing strategy rather than relying on pricing strategy. In addition, the Company has continually developed ways to produce high quality coal by bringing in modern technology for continuing improvement of coal production and operation.
The domestic coal distribution business has been recognized as an oligopoly market with only a few numbers of operators, having group of large and small industrial customers with the major competitor is Banpu Public Co., Ltd. Nevertheless, since the Company has its own coal mines with high quality coal and decades of mineable reserves, therefore possesses sufficient competitive advantage and business potential.
Coal is the main fuel in electricity generation and can be used as a substitute for almost every kind of fuel depending mainly on the convenience of utilization and demand on heating energy. Additionally, coal reserves are higher than other types of fossil fuel. The trend of coal consumption is still growing as the price of oil and other sources of fuel are still significantly more expensive and experience more price volatility than coal. Nonetheless, coal prices had been declining significantly since year 2011 to the lowest level in 2016 in accordance with the world economy, subsequently, coal price was recovered during the second half of 2016 and climbed up to the highest level in over five years by the end of 2016 and continued to stay at a high level until the middle of 2018 before starting to decline until present as global economy began to slow down. Additionally, the Indonesian Government policy has become more stringent, especially on the Domestic Obligation Market policy, which stipulates higher portion of coal supply to the domestic consumers with lower selling price than that of export. As a result, the average coal price in 2019 was much lower than the previous year.
Despite the fact that coal market has been affected by the trade war and global industrial changes, as with other industries; nonetheless, coal fuel is a fundamental factor in the production of electricity with the lowest cost, therefore, many countries still rely on energy from coal, especially in Asian countries such as China, India, and Southeast Asian countries including Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines, as there is a tendency for increasing demand of imported coal to use in coal-fired power plants that the construction have been recently completed and there are many other coal-fired power plants still under construction, except for the European region where coal usage has declined significantly. Nevertheless, the Company with subsidiary companies operating coal mining business in Indonesia should benefit from geographical advantage of Indonesia since many countries still rely on coal imports from Indonesia, while coal consumption in Indonesia also tends to increase as well. The overall energy consumption from coal is still increasing, although the proportion of coal usage has been reduced as compared to the overall energy production, especially renewable energy, being promoted to replace fossil fuels. It is expected that coal price will still fluctuate in high level according to the market conditions, global economic slowdown and impact of various incidents, including restrictions on coal production and coal supply in the world market.
Domestic Coal Business
The Company imports coal from the joint venture coal mining projects and from other sources in Indonesia for distribution in Thailand by either direct delivery and for inventory and processing before delivery to the customers at Ayutthaya Coal Distribution Center, located in Nakornluang District, Ayutthaya Province on an area of 31 rai and 29 square wah, which can support over 200,000 tons of coal inventory. The Company’s domestic coal market share in 2019 was approximately 5.4 percent of the amount of coal used in the industrial sector, excluding coal used for electricity production of independent power producer (IPP) and small power producer (SPP). The majority of domestic coal consumption in 2019 was mainly by cement industry at approximately 41 percent with the remaining 59 percent by electricity production and other industries, which excludes electricity production from the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT). It is expected that the consumption of coal, with lower cost per heat unit than other types of fuel, will continue to increase
in the future.
Overseas Coal Business
For more than 18 years, the Company has invested in joint venture coal mining projects in Indonesia, of which coal is imported for distribution to the domestic customers and exported to other countries especially in the Asia region market, such as India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, etc. Coal produced by the Company has good quality with reputable brand and trusted by both domestic and overseas customers. The Company is one of the highly regarded and reliable coal companies in the Asia region.
1. PT. LANNA HARITA INDONESIA (“LHI”), a subsidiary company registered in Indonesia with Lanna Resources Public Co., Ltd. directly holds shares at 55 percent of the paid-up capital, conducts coal mining business operation in Samarinda district, Kutai Regency, in East Kalimantan, having received the coal mining concession (Coal Contract of Work) from the Indonesian Government for coal production and distribution for a period of 30 years (from 2001 to 2031). The remaining coal reserves are estimated at 25 million metric tons. Currently, the production capacity is approximately 3.5 million metric tons per year.
2. PT. SINGLURUS PRATAMA (“SGP”), a subsidiary company registered in Indonesia, with Lanna Resources Public Co., Ltd. directly holds shares at 65 percent of the paid-up capital, conducts coal mining business operation in Kutai Regency, East Kalimantan, having received the coal mining concession (Coal Contract of Work) from the Indonesian Government for coal production and distribution for a period of 30 years (from 2009 to 2039). The remaining coal reserves are estimated at 50 million metric tons. Currently, the production capacity is approximately 3 million metric tons per year. At present, SGP has developed a new coal deposit (Argosari Block or “AG”) within the coal concession area of SGP by constructing a hauling road and the port and jetty, including coal processing plant and stockyard areas, having coal stockpile capacity of 140,000 metric tons, and there is also a 1.70-km long conveyor belt extending from the port to jetty at the sea. The production and distribution of coal from AG Block has started since January 2020, and the plan is to produce and sell coal from AG Block of approximately 2-3 million metric tons per year. Coal produced from AG Block has a good quality coal with relatively high calorific value of 4,600-5,000 Kcal/Kg (GAR) and low sulphur value, which should be easily marketable and earns good profit margin.
3. United Bulk Shipping Pte. Ltd., an associated company registered in Singapore, with Lanna Resources Public Co., Ltd. directly holds shares at 49 percent of the paid-up capital, has been established to undertake business in ocean freight transport and coal trading, which has effectively managed coal transport services for imported coal into Thailand and coal distribution to other countries at reasonable costs.