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Duke Energy to sell U.S. Midwest commercial generation business

Feb 17 (Reuters) - U.S. electric power company Duke Energy Corp said on Monday that it was looking to sell off its Midwest commercial generation business, including stakes in 13 power plants, saying they offered "volatile returns" in a competitive market.

Duke will keep its regulated utilities in Ohio and Kentucky, and will try to sell its merchant power plants, with a total capacity of about 6,600 megawatts, as a package, a spokesman said.

"This earnings profile is not a strategic fit for this Duke Energy and we have begun a process to exit it," Chief Executive Lynn Good said in a statement.

Eleven of the plants Duke is planning to sell are in Ohio, one is in Illinois and another is Pennsylvania.

The company will record a pretax impairment charge of $1 billion to $2 billion in the first quarter of 2014 related to the sale.

Duke expects the process to take between 12 and 18 months and is being advised by Citigroup Inc and Morgan Stanley .