Former chief Budge helps HG Capital in bid to reclaim UK Coal

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The Independent Online

UK Coal, formerly known as RJB Mining, is understood to have received an informal offer from HG Capital, a private equity company.

HG Capital, is believed to have tabled an informal offer at up to 110p a share to CSFB, UK Coal's financial advisers. The private equity group is now thought to be keen to open full bid talks.

UK Coal, however, is understood to have had no contact with HG Capital since the informal offer was made over a month and a half ago.

Richard Budge, the former chief executive of UK Coal nicknamed 'King Coal', is thought to be acting as a consultant to HG over its bid although it is unclear whether he is hoping to return to the helm.

Since his departure, Mr Budge is understood to have been trawling the City to gain financial backing in a move to regain control of UK Coal and take it private.

Earlier this month, Mr Budge was named as the preferred bidder for the beleaguered Hatfield Colliery, beating off approaches from UK Coal and Enron, the US power trader.

A spokesperson for UK Coal said yesterday that the company had not received any formal offers. On that basis, UK Coal is unlikely to feel under pressure to issue any statement to the Stock Exchange.