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Interest in Pike River assets

Thursday 17th February 2011

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Pike River Coal receivers say they have received unsolicited expressions of interest from various parties in the assets of the West Coast miner.

PricewaterhouseCoopers was appointed to carry out the receivership in mid-December after 29 men died in a November 19 explosion at the Pike River underground coal mine.

The men's bodies remain in the mine as efforts to stabilise conditions continue.

In their first report into Pike River, the receivers said that on the date of their appointment the company had received total creditors' claims of $110.9 million.

That included $31.9 million from unsecured creditors, of which $15.4 million was from unsecured trade creditors.

Given the uncertainty over the outcome of the receivership, it was unlikely any funds would be available to meet the claims of unsecured creditors, the receivers said.

Their primary focus was on continuing efforts to stabilise the mine and the process for its handover to the company from the police. It was anticipated control of the mine would revert to the company "in the near future".

"We have received unsolicited expressions of interest from various parties in the assets," the receivers said.

"At this stage we will continue to deal with immediate issues, and are still considering the longer term options available with respect to the mine and its related assets."

The report had omitted some details about proposals for disposing of receivership property, as that would prejudice the receivers' duty to obtain the best price reasonably obtainable, the receivers said.

They had retained 28 employees, who had been offered fixed term receivers' contracts, to provide management, technical and administrative services. A further 12 staff were being employed on a casual basis.

The receivers made no estimate of the value of Pike River's shares, which are suspended on the New Zealand and Australian stock exchanges.

"There are obviously a number of matters that need to be resolved around the future of the company, its assets and operations before any consideration can be made as to a resumption of stock exchange trading in the shares."



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