The UK's biggest coal producer said yesterday it had halted talks with a potential takeover bidder.
UK Coal - the loss-making owner of seven deep mines, including Daw Mill, near Cannock - said it had terminated discussions with the unidentified suitor after failing to secure details of its "highly preliminary and tentative approach" to the group in April.
The Doncaster-based mining company said it had asked the potential bidder for clarification of a number of aspects of its approach, but none had been forthcoming.
"Sufficient clarification has not been received and discussions have accordingly been terminated," UK Coal said in a statement.
UK Coal, formerly known as RJB Mining, acquired the former assets of British Coal when the coal industry was privatised.
It was thought that UK Coal's extensive property interests - valued at £174 million in 2002 - may have been one of the reasons for the interest in a company which in March unveiled losses of £51.6 million for its last financial year.
It came as new chief executive Gerry Spindler attempts to lead the company back to profitability by 2006.
In March, he reported "significant progress" in reshaping and restructuring the business, including the introduction of a new wage structure and a more structured maintenance regime.
The moves come after the company's deep mines made losses of £37.8 million in 2004, following a drop in output to 12 million tonnes - from 14.8 million tonnes in 2003.