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En + Holding Oleg Derupaski looking for a buyer for the Yakutian coal company "Erchim-Than"

Oleg Deripaska's En + holding is making yet another attempt to sell its Yakut coal company Erchim-Than. In 2011, the holding broke off deals with Indian NMDC and Topworth Group of Companies, now En + is negotiating with an unknown Chinese company. Chinese investors have repeatedly been interested in Russian coal, and so far only the En + joint venture with the Chinese Shenhua has started working.

As Kommersant writes today, En + Oleg Deripaska’s industrial holding company plans to sell Erchim-Than coal to Chinese investors, said the general director of En + Coal, Yevgeny Masternak. According to him, “Erchim-Than” is not included in the portfolio of strategic projects, it is the only asset of the holding in Neryungri (Yakutia), and the management of the enterprise and its logistics are not satisfied with En +.

Erchim-Than LLC is already developing the Eastern section of the Chulmakansky deposit with reserves of more than 40 million tonnes of coking and steam coal, in 2013 the company planned to mine 225 thousand tons

The buyer is "an average coal company in Chinese but rather large in terms of Russian scale," the top manager said. He refused to name the investor, saying only that it was not Shenhua, with which En + created a parity joint venture at the end of 2013 (for the development of the Zashulan coal deposit in Transbaikalia with reserves of more than 250 million tons and investments of about 30 billion rubles), but stressed that the deal may become a touchstone for a buyer to enter the Russian market.

Despite repeated statements about the entry of various Chinese companies into the Russian coal industry, En + JV with Shenhua remains the only active project.

Analysts refrain from assessing a possible Erchim-Than transaction, explaining that given the current market situation, one should not focus on the cost of a ton of inventory. But, he notes, in order to achieve a good project economy, the Chinese company will have to increase the reserves of Erchim-Than.

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