Coal Asia Says Planned Listing Draws Investors

MONTHS before the scheduled initial public offering (IPO), Coal Asia Holdings Inc. said it is drawing interest from strategic investors seeking to ensure coal supply keep costs more stable.

In a statement, Coal Asia said strategic investors from the power generation and cement industries have expressed interest to own a stake in the coal miner. Investment funds are also keen on the company, it said.

Coal Asia, which claims to hold the country's second-biggest coal reserves, is raising fresh funds as it targets to begin commercial production by 2014. It plans to sell in the fourth quarter about 800 million primary shares at P1 each, representing 20 percent of the company, which will be solely arranged by Abacus Capital and Investment Corp.

"The company is evidently keen on ensuring the timely development of its high-grade bituminous coal mines as these strategically located in Mindanao where there is a rush to establish critically needed power capacity, giving Coal Asia a leg up on opportunities for long-term supply agreements for thermal coal in the region," it said.

Coal Asia is led by Harald Tomintz, who was previously associated with Semirara Coal Corp. before its privatization in 1997. It was renamed to Semirara Mining Corp. by the controlling Consunji family and is considered the Philippines's biggest producer of coal.

The estimated P726.87 million in net proceeds from Coal Asia's IPO is earmarked to bring into production the Davao Oriental mine by 2014 and the Zamboanga Sibugay mine by 2015.

The company is targeting an initial production capacity of 600,000 metric tons of high-grade coal annually by 2014.

Should plans proceed, Coal Asia will be the fourth company to go public this year after GT Capital Holdings Inc., East West Banking Corp. and Calata Corp.