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Cliffs Natural to explore more sale options for coal assets; shares rise

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Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF), the largest U.S. iron miner, rose in today’s trading after saying it will continue to explore sale options for other coal assets amid lower prices in order to focus on its core iron-ore products.

Shares advanced 4.3 percent to $8.51 at 3 p.m. in New York, trimming this year’s tumble to 67 percent.

The Wilton, Connecticut-based company said in a statement today that it agreed to sell its Logan County Coal assets in West Virginia to Coronado Coal II LLC for $175 million in cash along with the assumption of certain liabilities.

“This transaction is another important step in executing our strategy to transform Cliffs into a stronger, pure-play U.S. iron ore supplier,” chief executive officer Lourenco Goncalves said in the statement.

Cliffs said it expects to record a pre-tax loss of $375 million to $425 million on the sale of those assets in the fourth quarter.

Cliffs said today that it plans to use proceeds from the asset sale to repay debt.

The sale is expected to complete by the end of the year.

Cliffs is seeking to reshape itself as it faces declining prices for iron ore used to make steel. In October, Cliffs took a $6 billion write-down, mostly related to the ill-timed purchase of a Canadian iron ore mine intended to supply the then-booming Chinese steel market. Cliffs is considering closing the mine.

The company posted a loss of $5.9 billion, or $38.49 per share, in the third quarter, compared with a profit of $104 million, or 66 cents per share, a year ago. Cliffs is also in a transition after a board coup this year orchestrated by activist hedge fund Casablanca Capital LP.

Quick facts: Cliffs Natural Resources Inc

Price: 7.01 USD

NYSE:CLF
Market: NYSE
Market Cap: $1.89 billion
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