State Power Companies dues to Coal India Limited rise to Rs. 22,000 crore

Coal India’s dues from state- owned power generation companies have risen to Rs 22,000 crore amid muted demand and high production, sources said on Monday. The mining behemoth is also not in a position to regulate supplies to the power companies as demand has remained subdued over the last few months, they said.

“Dues are now at Rs 22,000 crore. We are not sure when the situation will improve, and are yet to see the flow of government funds as assistance to gencos,” a company source told .

The outstanding amount was around Rs 12,000 crore in January.

“Majority of the dues are from state gencos and rationalisation of supply to put pressure on them is also not feasible,” he said.

The government had recently announced Rs 90,000 crore worth of loans to state power distribution companies.

Net cash flow from operating activities for Coal India slumped sharply to Rs 4,146 crore in the last fiscal from Rs 16,355 crore in 2018-19.

“State generation companies are not in a position to pay. The situation is unlikely to improve until September. Dispatches are down 22 per cent year-on-year currently for the first quarter. The company is trying to maintain production at the same level as dispatches,” Brokerage house Motilal Oswal said in a note.

“The problem of cash flow is severe with some of the subsidiaries like Bharat Coking Coal, Western Coalfields and Central Coalfields. They are facing a liquidity crunch to fulfil their statutory obligations like payment of salaries in the wake of low realisations,” an official said.

Another official said low realisation is a critical issue for some subsidiaries but the problem is short lived. “Subsidiaries had been asked to rely on short-term loans from banks. Coal India does not have any plan for long-term borrowing through instruments like issuing bonds to tide over this crisis,” he said.

An analyst at the brokerage house said that volume and e-auction realisations are likely to remain under pressure.

Officials said the coronavirus lockdown came at a time when power demand was largely muted and production at Coal India’s mines had been ramped up, which led to an increase in inventory.

Coal India’s supplies to the power sector in April-May declined 24 per cent on-year to 62 million tonnes.

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