Sri Lanka to buy Russian coal; LCC will no longer pursue Indonesian order



Sri Lanka is to buy 720,000 metric tonnes of Russian coal from two companies–China’s Combasst Industries Development Ltd and Dubai’s Coral Energy DMCC–after an earlier agreement with an Indonesian supplier fell through.

Lanka Coal Company (LCC) will no longer pursue the order from Indonesia’s PT Arista Mitra Jaya. On Monday, the Power and Energy Ministry secured Cabinet permission to buy the stocks from the other two companies shortlisted along with Arista Mitra and Hans Australia Pty Ltd. Hans Australia was later ruled out on the basis of certain terms they required fulfilled.

LCC first placed its order with the lowest supplier Arista Mitra for US$ 240 per ton with 180-day credit. However, the Mandira Bank of Indonesia rejected the usance Letter of Credit (LC) opened by Lanka Coal Company without providing a reason, a Cabinet paper submitted on Monday by State Minister D. V. Chanaka, said.

Arista Mitra then sought to transfer the LC to a third party “where such a transfer is not possible within the context of the contract,” the Cabinet paper said. LCC would, on the Attorney General’s advice, terminate this contract.

The purchasing matter subsequently went to a ministerial sub-committee and the standing Cabinet-appointed procurement committee (SCAPC), after which Combasst Industries and Coral Energy were selected.

Combasst would sell the coal at US$ 230 per MT with 200-day credit, LCC Chairman Shehan Sumanasekara said.

Twenty percent of cargo value would be deposited by LCC in a non-resident rupee account and the balance to the same account, in equal portions. After the credit period, the rupees would be changed into dollars and remitted to the supplier. Combasst’s price was indexed to the Russian Coal Index (RCI).

Coral Energy was selling at a fixed price of US$ 240 per MT, Mr. Sumanasekara said. Under this agreement, there would be no payment until the cargo was discharged at Lakvijaya in Norochcholai, and disbursement would be according to usage (that is, “storage model”).

“This means that, today if the plant requires 5,000 MT despite having one to eight shipments unloaded, we will pay only for the desired quantity,” the Chairman said.

It was anticipated that the coal from Coral Energy would be used for the first time in early June this year.

“Even then, out of the total payment, 80 percent will be disbursed per usage on the same day and there will be a further 120 days of credit for the usage of the balance 20 percent. Both parties have provided the needed credit terms with two different mechanisms,” he said.

LCC had struggled to purchase fuel since its last competitive tender fell apart late last year. The latest companies were selected on the basis of unsolicited proposals after the Cabinet granted approval to this procurement method, alongside permission to make purchases through government-to-government agreements “considering urgent and exceptional circumstances.”

source – sundaytimes


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