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Pension Protection Fund sells £150m stake in Harworth Estates Property Group

26 March 2015

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The PPF has sold its stake in Harworth Estates, the property group split from UK Coal, back to Coalfield Resources.

Coalfield Resources underwent a restructure in 2012 that disposed of its mining operations and offloaded its GBP 550m pension scheme deficit to the PPF.

The PPF took a 75.1 per cent holding in Harworth Estates as part of this

The new deal will see Coalfield Resources, formerly known as UK Coal, reconsolidate its holdings in Harworth Estates - with the PPF selling its 75.1 per cent shareholding back to Coalfield Resources.

Jonson Cox, chairman of Coalfield Resources said the company was "delighted" to announce the transaction.

"It re-establishes under single ownership the property business of Harworth Estates and we welcome the PPF as a 25 per cent investor," he said.

"It will complete the transformation of the company to a specialist brownfield property developer - we will now be in a strong position to take full advantage of our proven skills in the property and regeneration markets and to deliver value."

Harworth Estates is a property and regeneration company which brings brownfield sites back into use across the North of England and the Midlands.

It is one of the largest property and regeneration businesses across the East Midlands, Yorkshire and the North of England, owning and/or managing a diversified portfolio of approximately 27,000 acres across some 200 sites valued at approximately GBP 298.5 million.

The buyback price of GBP 50m represents a discount of around 20 per cent on the value of the business.

Investec is advising on the placing of GBP 115m shares as part of the buyback and the shares, priced at 7.25p, offer a 19.5 per cent discount on the pricing of the enlarged company.

Since the announcement, Coalfield has made four appointments to the board of directors of the new company with immediate effect.

Owen Michaelson becomes CEO, Mike Richardson is finance director; Anthony Donnelly is non-executive director; and Mr Martyn Bowes is non-executive director.

Anthony Donnelly will join the company's audit committee and Bowes will join the remuneration committee.

Owen Michaelson was previously a director of UK Coal plc and resigned from that board on 10 December 2012.

First published 26.03.2015

Lindsay.sharman@wilmingtonplc.com