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BEIJING - China plans to merge the coal-fired power assets of its top five utility firms, cutting their combined coal-fired power capacity by up to a third by the end of 2021, according to a document seen by Reuters and four sources with knowledge of the matter.
The five utilitites, which are controlled by the central government, accounted for around 44% of China's total coal-fired power capacity at the end of 2018.
The plan, initiated and overseen by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council (SASAC), comes amid challenging conditions for coal-fired power in China and seeks to reduce debt after heavy losses at some of the utilities since 2016.
The SASAC did not immediately respond to a fax seeking comment and the sources declined to be identified as they were not authorised to speak to the media.
The utilities - China Huaneng Group Co , China Datang Corp, China Huadian Corp , State Power Investment Corp and China Energy Group - did not respond to faxes requesting comment.
Together, they had 474 coal-fired power plants with combined power generation capacity of 520 gigawatts (GW) at the end of last year.
($1 = 7.0389 Chinese yuan)
(Reporting by Muyu Xu, Zhang Xiaochong and Dominique Patton; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)