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Electricity price jolt could increase Sembcorp Industries' profit

Electricity price jolt could increase Sembcorp Industries’ profit

Electricity prices in India bolted to a record high of 10.6 cents/kWh (INR5.1/kWh) in Q3.

A jolt in Indian spot electricity prices could save Sembcorp Industries' Indian business from further losses, UOB Kay Hian said.

The firm said spot electricity prices in India bolted to a record high of 10.6 cents/kWh (INR5.1/kWh) in Q3 and even hit a 15-minute peak of 20.7 cents/kWh (9.9/kWh). The spike was due to a power supply crunch on higher electricity demand from power distribution companies.

As an effect, Sembcorp Industries' Sembcorp Gayatri Power Limited's (SGPL) losses of $26m in Q1 and $29m in Q2 could narrow down by as much as 30-40%.

On a net basis, SGPL will recognise a significantly higher electricity tariff in 3Q17. By tactically shutting down its Unit #3 for maintenance, Unit #4 effectively had its generation contracted out at the higher short-term PPA tariff of around 7.3 cents/kWh (Rs3.5/kWh).

SGPL also capitalised on the price spike in 3Q17 as it ramped up its plant load factor (PLF) to more than 90%.

“On the back of this, coupled with the effects of reduced finance costs, we expect SGPL’s 3Q17 quarterly core loss to shrink by 30-40% from previous quarters,” UOB Kay Hian said.

Whilst electricity prices have corrected to 7.1 cents/kWh (INR3.4/kWh), the firm said it could still remain elevated on structural factors.

Sembcorp Industries' India operations brought in a robust performance for Q3. PLF for Thermal Powertech Corporation India Limited (TPCIL) hit 91%, whilst it reached 73% for SGPL.



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