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Consol Evaluates Structure While Selling Coal Assets

Consol Energy Inc., the largest U.S. coal company by market value, said it may change its corporate structure as it continues to sell coal and natural gas assets.

Consol is “evaluating our overall corporate structure to consider different alternatives to unlock additional value for shareholders,” the Canonsburg, Pennsylvania-based company said in a statement today.

The company “is not receiving the full value of what these assets are worth,” Jeremy Sussman, an analyst at Clarkson Capital Markets in New York who rates the company the equivalent of a buy, said in an interview today.

Consol is expanded asset sales beyond mines to include coal and gas transportation, reinvesting the proceeds in projects with higher returns. The company, which got about 79 percent of its revenue from coal and 14 percent from gas last year, has faced declining U.S. demand for coal and gas prices that reached a 10-year low in New York last year.

The company reported a second-quarter loss of $12.5 million, or 5 cents a share, compared with profit of $152.7 million, or 67 cents, a year earlier. Excluding one-time items, the 3-cent per-share loss missed the 16-cent average profit of 23 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales fell 16 percent to $1.22 billion, surpassing the $1.2 billion average estimate.

Consol sold undeveloped coal assets in Canada for $105 million this year and coal mines in Wyoming for $300 million in 2012. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brett Harvey said in October the company was looking at a master-limited partnership and other structures “as a vehicle to add value to our shareholders over time.”

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