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BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. is intensifying its focus on the coal sector, hiring a new banker to try to bring in more business from the hundreds of producers around the globe.

Coal has had a renaissance in recent years. Both thermal and metallurgical coal have been in demand with new coal-fired generators coming on line and the steel industry thriving. That drives the deal making that is manna for bankers.

"Coal for us is a really big industry," said Egizio Bianchini, BMO's head of global metals and mining investment banking. "There are some trends in coal that if they continue will make coal companies much bigger and more profitable."

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BMO named Jason Neal co-head of global metals and mining. The long-time BMO veteran will help split an increasingly heavy load, Mr. Bianchini said, as the firm "more aggressively expands" in new commodities.

In coal, also, BMO is adding Jonathan Rose as a New York-based banker to focus on the mineral, supporting bankers from Toronto to Mumbai when deals in the industry are cooking.

Mr. Rose was at UBS Investment Bank for eight years, looking after metals distribution and processing companies, and U.S. and Latin American mining companies. He also did more than 30 deals in the U.S. coal sector.

Mr. Bianchini expects that there could be consolidation in the U.S. coal sector, which differs from many mining plays in that mines tend to be located right next to one another in basins. That gives some big potential synergies that could drive deals.

Abroad, coal has been a big source of initial public offering fees, with some big deals coming out of India.

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