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Wesfarmers looking to sell coal mines

AAP logoAAP 16/11/2016 Lilly Vitorovich

Retail and mining conglomerate Wesfarmers is looking to offload its east coast coal operations following a doubling of coal prices since June.

The company has confirmed it recently sought buyers for its coal assets, following media speculation about a potential sale of all or part of its coal operations.

Wesfarmers had previously flagged it was evaluating all strategic options for its resources business to maximise shareholder value.

"Wesfarmers is continuing to consider a broad range of options, from operational to divestment initiatives, including recently seeking expressions of interest from external parties who may want to acquire the coal assets," the company said in a brief statement.

Wesfarmers operates the Curragh coal mine near Blackwater in Queensland's Bowen Basin and has a 40 per cent stake in the Bengalla mine in the Hunter Valley of NSW.

The company wrote down the value of the Curragh mine by $850 million in 2015/16 following a sharp drop in coal prices.

Wesfarmers has cautioned there is no certainty of a deal being struck.

Its other operations include supermarket giant Coles, clothing and general merchandise chains Target and Kmart, hardware chain Bunnings and stationary group Officeworks.

Wesfarmers shares were up 58 cents at $41.08 at 1320 AEDT.

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