UK Coal separates mining and property businesses

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The Independent Online

Britain's biggest mining company, UK Coal, announced plans yesterday to split its resources and property businesses, adding that its chief executive, Jon Lloyd, and chairman, David Jones, would be leaving.

Mr Lloyd, a property specialist who has led UK Coal for nearly three years, will step down during the restructuring, which is expected to take place next month. Gareth Williams, UK Coal's mining director, will become managing director of the mining business, while Owen Michaelson, a non-executive director, will head the new property division.

Both will report to a new executive chairman when one is appointed to replace Mr Jones, the non-executive chairman, who is also standing down. "We have completed the transition of our deep-mining business to three mines, and our recent trading statement shows the sharp improvements in their operating performance, as well as pointing to the benefits still to come from our new supply agreements," Mr Jones said.

"In parallel, our property business has demonstrated the substantial value it can realise and, over the coming years, will be moving into its development phase. These very different businesses need to focus single-mindedly on their distinct value-creation strategies."

UK Coal has lost nearly 50 per cent of its value over the past six months after its losses widened last year. Its shares have slumped by 92 per cent since Mr Lloyd succeeded Gerry Spindler as chief executive in September 2007.

The company has blamed production problems at its underground mines and low coal prices agreed in a number of contracts.