A Consol split coming?

SPECULATION is mounting that Consol is exploring splitting up its coal and gas businesses or selling off its coal assets.
A Consol split coming? A Consol split coming? A Consol split coming? A Consol split coming? A Consol split coming?

Image courtesy of Consol Energy.

Noel Dyson

According to press reports, company executives feel its stock has been undervalued because of its historic dependence on coal and have been looking ways for the 150-year-old company to optimise its value.

Under consideration, the reports say, is splitting up the coal and gas assets and having them traded separately.

Consol has invested heavily in the natural gas market in recent years.

It included the $US3.5 billion ($A3.7 billion) purchase of Dominion Resources’ Appalachian gas business in 2010 to deal itself into the shale boom.

Another scenario is Consol selling about half of its coal capacity – mainly that tied to the utility market – and keeping those bits linked to the export market and steel.

It would include holding on to the Buchanan mine in Mavisdale, Virginia – which last year turned out 3.5 million short tons of metallurgical coal.

Then there is the option of selling its coal assets outright.

According to reports the company could receive $US6.5 billion for them.

There is a feeling that Consol would like to keep something of a hand in the coal game though.

Officially the company is holding its cards close to the vest, although it is being a little more forthcoming than usual.

“As we have stated previously we believe financial markets are not recognising the full value of our world class assets,” Consol said in a recent statement.

“In our second quarter earnings release issued July 25 Consol Energy stated that we are evaluating our overall corporate structure to consider different alternatives to unlock additional value for our shareholders.

“Although it is Consol Energy’s long-standing policy not to comment on market rumours or speculation, Consol Energy confirms that the evaluation processing regarding our corporate structure continues and all options are being considered.

“There can be no assurance that any particular option will be purchased.”