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Solid Energy releases higher production figures

Monday 2nd May 2011

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State-owned Solid Energy is reporting higher production figures at a time of rising coal prices.

"The company's performance for the year to date remains strong across its operating businesses, supported by strong commodity market prices," Solid Energy said.

The company has its headquarters in Christchurch and exports coal through Lyttelton Port, which was disrupted for a short time by the February 22 earthquake.

Solid Energy said coal sales rose 18% for the year to date at the end of March, compared to a year earlier. Biodiesel sales rose 73% and wood pellet sales rose 262%.

Solid Energy paid an interim dividend of $20 million to the Government on March 31.

"Coal export prices continue to trend upwards quarter by quarter. Demand for coal in New Zealand markets remains stable and our wood pellet business continues to make strong progress towards sustainable long-term profitability," Solid Energy chief executive Don Elder said.

The receivers of the Pike River Mine, where 29 workers died last year, have asked for expressions of interest before May 2. Solid Energy is seen as a potential buy.

NZOG, Pike River equity and debt owner, said on Friday that there were potential purchasers other than Solid Energy for the mine.



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