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Solid Energy creditors to get at least 60c in $1 as assets sold

Tuesday 14th November 2017

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Solid Energy New Zealand's creditors will get at least 60 cents in the dollar after the failed state-owned enterprise's mines are sold, up from the previous range of 45 cents to 55 cents.

The state-owned enterprise, operating under a deed of company arrangement, has sold all but one of its assets, with the Stockton export coal operation and two Waikato mines sold to BT Mining, a joint venture between Bathurst Resources and Talleys Energy, in August. Spring Creek, the only mine not sold, is currently being closed. 

Solid Energy was placed in voluntary administration in 2016 after concluding it had no realistic prospect of refinancing $239 million of debt facilities due to mature in September 2016. The company's downward spiral began in 2013 when slumping global coal costs exposed its commercial error in carrying substantial debt on its balance sheet.

The sale to BT was finalised outside of the financial year, and chair Andy Coupe said that once remaining sale proceeds are collected and final costs are taken into account, creditors should see a return of approximately 60 cents in the dollar, which could be higher based on post-settlement coal prices.

Last October, administrators Brendon Gibson and Grant Graham of KordaMentha said they expected returns from the asset sales to be between 45-cents-and-55-cents in the dollar, higher than the top end of the 35-to-40-cents range initially estimated for a managed sale.

Pike River Mine and East Mine were not included in the asset sales programme. Solid Energy said it is waiting to be advised of the new government's plans for re-entry, and the assets will be disclaimed to the Crown on solvent liquidation or before, if the Crown wants to take over the site earlier.

The company is on track to go into solvent liquidation in March 2018, Coupe said.

(BusinessDesk)

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