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South32 kicks off sale process for South African thermal coal business

Sydney — Australia-listed miner South32 has started the sale process for its South Africa Energy Coal business, a spokesman for the company confirmed via email last Friday.

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"We have now commenced a process to broaden South Africa Energy Coal's ownership, consistent with our commitment to further transform our South African operations," he said.

The company announced its intention to manage SAEC as a standalone business in November last year.

South32 had received several unsolicited expressions of interest and will now start to engage the parties that have shown an interest in SAEC, sources said.

Morgan Stanley and Macquarie are advising on the sale and the timing of the process is expected to be in the range of 18-24 months.

In fiscal 2017-2018 (July-June), South32's SAEC business saw total production of 27.27 million mt, against a guidance of 27.50 million mt, the company said earlier this year. This was down 6% on the year, it added.

Its sales in the domestic market stood at 15.40 million mt, down 9% year on year, while its exports were 12.52 million mt, up 6% from the year before, it said.

-- Nathan Richardson, newsdesk@spglobal.com

-- Edited by E Shailaja Nair, shailaja.nair@spglobal.com