UPDATE 1-Tianjin Port Group to invest 12.8 bln yuan in '09

(Adds details, comments)

BEIJING, March 6 (Reuters) - China’s Tianjin Port Group will invest 12.8 billion yuan ($1.87 billion) this year, up from 12 billion yuan in 2008, the group’s chairman, Yu Rumin, said on Friday. The new investment would go toward widening its port channel and for special equipment to handle coal and oil, among other projects, Yu said in remarks to reporters on the sidelines of China’s annual session of parliament.

Yu also said the company was holding talks about a possible acquisition in northern China, but he declined to give further details.

He said the group’s five-year investment plan through 2010 amounted to 45 billion yuan, but added “we might exceed that.”

The chairman said he thought the worst of the economic downturn’s impact on the company had occurred in January.

Even so, he said the company handled 8 million tonnes of iron ore imports in that month, which was a record.

The group plans to inject into it's Shanghai listed unit 600717.SS a 1.3 billion yuan crude oil port facility.

“We have made the promise, and we’ll stick to that,” he said, without providing a timeframe.

Reporting by Kirby Chien; Editing by Ken Wills $1=6.839 Yuan