March 7, 2018 / 8:13 PM / 14 days ago

UPDATE 2-Drummond hires Goldman to float possible Colombia sale to investors -sources

(Adds Goldman Sachs declined to comment)

BOGOTA, March 7 (Reuters) - Alabama-based coal miner Drummond Co Inc has hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc to explore investor interest in the possible sale of at least a portion of its operations in Colombia, sources at Drummond said on Wednesday.

Colombia, the world’s fifth-largest exporter of coal, produced 89.4 million tonnes of the fuel last year. Drummond was the country’s largest thermal coal producer and exporter in 2017, with output of 32.4 million tonnes and exports of 32.3 million tonnes.

The sources, who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, did not confirm how much of its stake in Colombia the company may want to sell.

“They are exploring the interest of investors to see if there is interest in the company’s coal assets in Colombia,” one source said.

A press officer at Drummond’s Birmingham, Alabama headquarters said the company had no comment. Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

Drummond sold 20 percent of its stake in the Andean country for $1.5 billion in 2011 to Japan’s Itochu. The company said at the time it had looked into selling outright.

Asia is a major market for Colombian coal.

Besides Drummond, the biggest players in Colombia’s coal industry are Glencore Plc, Murray Energy Corp’s Colombia Natural Resources, and Cerrejon, which is jointly owned by BHP Billiton, Anglo American Plc and Glencore. (Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by David Gregorio and Lisa Shumaker)

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