UK Coal loan talks continue after potential lender pulls out

LONDON, June 12 Thu Jun 12, 2014 7:14am EDT

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LONDON, June 12 (Reuters) - The British government and investor Harworth Estates are continuing talks with UK Coal and other stakeholders over a loan to allow the managed closure of the company's mines, they said on Thursday, after another potential lender pulled out.

Hargreaves Services, which had indicated it could provide a 5 million pound ($8.4 million) loan, said on Wednesday it had dropped out of the process because it was unable to agree on a loan plan with the other stakeholders.

The government said on Thursday its 10 million pound loan offer was still available.

"The government will continue to cooperate fully with other parties and to explore any proposals that might assist in the managed closure of the mines," said UK Energy Minister Michael Fallon in a written statement to Parliament.

Regeneration company Harworth Estates also confirmed it was continuing talks with the government, UK Coal and other stakeholders to find a solution.

UK Coal, Britain's largest coal producer, went into administration last year and its business has declined further since due to fierce international competition and the strengthening sterling.

It is now seeking a loan to pay for the gradual closure of its business and prevent an immediate insolvency shutdown.

UK Coal employs around 1,300 people across its two deep coal mines in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.

($1 = 0.5956 British Pounds) (Reporting by Karolin Schaps; Additional reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Mark Potter)

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