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Coal India shares rally 8% as Narendra Modi explores break-up

LiveMint logoLiveMint 22-05-2014 Krishna N. Das

New Delhi: Shares of Coal India Ltd, the world’s biggest coal miner, rose over 8% to hit their highest level in nearly three years on Thursday after Reuters reported that Narendra Modi, who will become prime minister on Monday, was exploring breaking up the company and opening up the sector.

The stock was among the top gainers on India’s National Stock Exchange index Nifty, rising as much as 8.2% in early trade to `401.40, the highest since August 2011.

Modi wants to fix India’s inefficient coal sector quickly to improve electricity supply across the country. Coal generates more than half of the country’s power and is the cheapest form of energy.

Sources said any reform will begin with Coal India, which accounts for 80% of India’s total coal output but has failed to meet its output targets for years.

Red tape, strikes, protests against land acquisition and delays in obtaining environmental approvals have kept coal output far below demand, making India the world’s third largest importer even though it sits on the fifth-largest reserves. Reuters

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