By Sudarshan Varadhan
CHENNAI (Reuters) - India's largest coal mining services provider and trader Adani Enterprises Ltd <ADEL.NS> is not interested in participating in the country's first ever coal mine auctions for the private sector, an executive said on Thursday.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June opened up coal mining without end-use restrictions and provided financial incentives to attract investment in India, which has the world's fourth largest coal reserves.
When asked to comment on these coal mining reforms and if Adani would participate in domestic auctions for coal mines, the Group's Chief Financial Officer Jugeshinder Singh said he would restrict participation to mining services.
"Not really until and unless it related to mining services, not commercial coal (mining)," Singh said in a post-earnings conference call on Thursday.
Adani Group's position highlights the struggles of the global coal sector, which has been battered by low prices and falling demand.
It also highlights challenges India - the world's second biggest coal market after China - will face in attracting private sector investors into coal as it attempts to become a net exporter.
Globally, investors are shying away from coal assets amid increasing pressure from climate change activists on large international miners and banks.
Following the press conference, the company in a brief statement to Reuters downplayed Singh's comments stating it would be "open to participate in the auctions," depending on coal demand and "opportunities offered by the government."
Earlier on the call, Singh had said Adani Group was deemphasising commercial coal mining.
"Coal-related and mining-related businesses are becoming an increasingly insignificant part of the group's portfolio," Singh told reporters, adding that the company's Carmichael project in Australia would be less ambitious than initially envisioned.
"Carmichael rather than being a mining business is now a support business for Adani Power," he said.
Adani Enterprises on Thursday reported a loss for the quarter ending June 30 as revenue from the company's coal trading business fell due to nationwide lockdowns that hit electricity demand.
($1 = 74.8996 Indian rupees)
(Reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan. Editing by Jane Merriman, Kirsten Donovan)