(Bloomberg) -- Coal India Ltd., the world’s biggest miner of the fuel, raised prices for the first time in five years to offset an increase to its $5 billion wage bill.
Prices of the top nine grades of thermal coal will rise by 8% from Wednesday, the company said in a statement, in a move that’s aimed at lifting revenue to help offset the impact of the rising cost of non-executive salaries.
The increase involves higher-quality categories of coal used mainly by industrial customers rather than by power plants to generate electricity, meaning the price hike shouldn’t have a major impact on energy bills. India relies on coal for about 70% of its electricity generation.
Coal India’s management has been aiming to lift prices for months amid higher costs of diesel and after it finalized a 19% salary increase for its non-executive staff, an agreement that will lift an annual wage bill that was about $4.9 billion in 2022.
“The price revision is well below our expectations,” said Rahul Kailash Jain, an analyst at Mumbai-based Systematix Shares & Stocks India. “It doesn’t even cover the rise in salaries.”
Kolkata-based Coal India declined 1.4% in early trading Wednesday. The producer has advanced almost 8% this year on higher demand for the fuel, even as earnings tumbled in the first three months on provisions to cover the increase in salary costs.
Consumption of coal has surged on higher electricity demand as India’s industries rebounded from pandemic curbs, and as a bout of sweltering heat has led homes and businesses to crank up cooling appliances.
Revenue is forecast to increase by 27 billion rupees ($326 million) in the 12 months through March on account of the price increases, Coal India said Tuesday.
(Updates to add share price in sixth paragraph.)
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.