THE UK’s biggest coal producer today completed a complex reshuffle of its business in a move that safeguards 2,500 jobs.
UK Coal, which has been renamed Coalfield Resources, has split its operations into two businesses – a mining arm called Mine Holdings and a property division, Harworth Estates.
Ownership of the South Yorkshire-based group has been split between the company, a newly established Employee Benefit Trust and the pension fund.
Under the restructuring, the pension fund now owns 75 per cent of Harworth Estates, which has 30,000 acres of land and other property, in return for a £30 million cash injection.
The company, which generates about 5 per cent of Britain’s electricity requirements, slumped to a loss in the first half of the year as production plunged at its Daw Mill mine near Coventry.
Chairman Jonson Cox said: “The restructuring has helped to safeguard 2,500 highly skilled and well-paid jobs, a skilled supply chain, and created a funding plan for the £450m pension deficit that UK Coal has been burdened with.”
The group also saw several changes among its board of directors as part of the shake-up, including the appointment of RWE Npower’s chief operating officer as chief executive of Mine Holdings.
The group’s other deep mines are at Thoresby in Nottinghamshire and Kellingley in North Yorkshire.
It previously warned it was “unlikely” that Daw Mill, which employs 800 staff, would continue to operate beyond early 2014.
Cox said: “This has been a restructuring of unprecedented scale and complexity for this size of company, dealing with a legacy structure that was inherited on the privatisation of British Coal in 1994.”
Shares in the group rose 1.6p, or 22 per cent, to close at 8.85p.