* Company valued at around $8-$9 bln - banking source
* IPO could take place in H1 - source
* May list 25 pct of share capital - report
(Adds details, background)
By Olga Popova and Polina Devitt
MOSCOW, Dec 21 SUEK, Russia's largest steam coal producer, is considering an initial public offering (IPO) of shares next year in London, three banking industry sources told Reuters on Monday.
The sources did not say how much SUEK, which is controlled by tycoons Andrei Melnichenko and Sergei Popov, is looking to raise, though one said the entire company was worth between $8 billion and $9 billion.
The same source said the listing would take place in the first half of 2010, while the others said no date had been set.
"There haven't been any good opportunities in this sector for a long time, and the sector is on its way up, so therefore this will be a positive story," one banker said, on condition of anonymity.
Russian aluminium company UC RUSAL is pushing ahead with a $2 billion Hong Kong IPO slated for early 2010, despite a ban on a retail tranche that has reduced the offering to little more than a Russian state bailout. [ID:nTOE5B60DM]
Two sources said SUEK had yet to decide which banks would lead the IPO. The company could not immediately be reached for comment.
British newspaper The Independent on Sunday cited an unnamed source as saying SUEK could list 25 percent of its shares in London and Moscow in the first half of next year in order to raise money to fund additional projects.
The paper said global heavyweights UBS UBSN.VX, Credit Suisse CSGN.VX, Morgan Stanley (MS.N), Goldman Sachs (GS.N), Citigroup (C.N), Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) and Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAC.N) were all seeking to participate in the deal.
Russia's VTB (VTBR.MM) and Renaissance Capital had also offered their services to the miner, it added.
SUEK will conduct a second round of interviews with the banks this week and make a final decision shortly thereafter.
The company, which mined 96.2 million tonnes of steam coal last year, originally planned to sell shares to the public in 2008. It abandoned these plans because of the financial crisis, the newspaper wrote.
SUEK is also a major shareholder in a number of Siberian and Far Eastern power companies with total generating capacity of 13 gigawatts.
(Writing by Alfred Kueppers; editing by John Stonestreet)
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