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Japanese firms see rising risk of stranded investment as tide turns against coal worldwide

November 09, 2020


Marubeni Corp’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) said on Monday it is increasingly difficult to sell stakes in coal-fired power plants due to growing criticism of the power stations which emit high levels of carbon dioxide.

“To sum up, it is becoming harder to sell stakes in coal power plants as coal has run into a lot of flak,” Masumi Kakinoki told an analyst meeting, when asked about attitudes towards coal power amid global efforts to tackle climate change.

Marubeni pledged in 2018 to halve its net coal power generating capacity of about 3 gigawatts (GW) by 2030 to cut greenhouse gas emissions. As of March 2020, it held 2.7 GW net coal power capacity.

“The best solution is to stop and scrap the plants, but we need to sell our stakes to parties with an interest in owning them as there are many power stations that are still valuable and needed for regions or countries,” Kakinoki said. However, he added that the company needed to avoid selling the stakes at a large loss, or to buyers who may resell them quickly.

Last week, peer Sumitomo Corp booked a special loss of 25 billion yen ($241 million) in its April-September half year on its stake and lending in the Bluewaters coal power station in Australia.

Mitsui & Co Ltd CEO Tatsuo Yasunaga also said last month that the company plans to sell its remaining stakes in coal-fired power stations by the end of the decade as it aims to achieve its 2050 net zero emission target.

[Yuka Obayashi]

More: Marubeni CEO says becoming harder to sell stakes in coal power plants

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