Move on Tinkler companies over failed deal


PROPERTY company Mirvac will ask the Supreme Court on Monday to seize assets worth $$17million from Nathan Tinkler companies over a failed property deal at Steel River.

The section of law being used by Mirvac also allows it to ask the court to appoint a receiver to the Tinkler companies.

The court action is one of a number of financial pressures facing the self-made magnate, whose wealth has shrunk in recent months over debt worries and falling coal prices.

The Mirvac action places further pressure on one of Newcastle’s best known developers, Buildev, which was included in the Steel River deal as security for the Tinkler company, Ocean Street Holdings Trust.

The Tinkler camp had wanted the land as part of a railcorridor to reach the former BHP steelworks site, where Mr Tinkler had plans to build a coal-loader.

When the coal-loader failed to go ahead, Ocean Street did not complete the purchase of the now unneeded site and Mirvac took Supreme Court action.

Mirvac won a judgment on August 1 that gave the Tinkler companies until September 1 to pay an amount Mirvac said came to $$17million with interest.

Buildev began in Raymond Terrace in the early 1990s and grew rapidly to become one of the best known development companies in the Hunter.

The group includes construction arm Bolkm and Castle Quarry Products.

More than 20 staff have left the group in the past year.

Despite linking with Mr Tinkler in 2008, the Buildev group has struggled recently, as Newcastle Herald reports about the Tinkler group’s financial problems have shown.

Mr Tinkler is Buildev’s largest individual shareholder with just under 50per cent.

Despite speculation, Mr Tinkler’s spokesman denied industry rumours the company was on the verge of going into voluntary administration.

Buildev is due to return to the NSW Supreme Court on Monday, when Mirvac will seek an urgent hearing to have its judgment enforced.

If the Tinkler camp does not finish the sale as ordered last month by the court, Mirvac wants court approval to seize assets to the value of $$17million as compensation.

If it completes the sale, it will be left with a block of land it no longer needs for the purpose it originally wanted and would probably be worth less than the $$17million the court has ordered paid.

The Herald understands Buildev, which has land in Medowie, Cooranbong, Old Bar and several locations in Queensland, has been trying to raise funds by off-loading property.

The group’s largest asset is a major parcel of land at North Richmond, where an aged-care facility and independent living homes, are being built by a joint partner.

A Mirvac spokesman said the matter would go before a registrar on Monday but Mirvac would seek to have it referred to a duty judge.

Mirvac is taking action under Section 40.2 of the state’s Uniform Civil Procedures Rules, which pertain to the enforcing of court judgments.

This section allows a judgment to be enforced by appointing a ‘‘receiver of the income of the property of the person bound by the judgment’’ or by sequestration of the property of the person bound by the judgment’’.

NATHAN TINKLER

Cash-flow crisisconjecture still

THE past few weeks have been nothing but tough for former billionaire Nathan Tinkler.

Speculation continues to mount about the mining magnate’s financial future following a series of missed payments and a growing list of creditors seeking money from his Hunter companies.

Weaker commodity prices and falling share prices have combined to shrink Mr Tinkler’s wealth, partly due to the falling value of his 21per cent stake in Whitehaven Coal.

The former Hunter electrician turned coal baron, who made his money from a series of shrewd coalmine acquisitions, has been under fire with speculation increasing of a major cash flow crisis.

The Newcastle Herald reported last month that dozens of creditors from Melbourne to Queensland were seeking payment from Tinkler-linked companies Bolkm, Buildev, Patinack Farm and Hunter Sports Group.

The Newcastle Knights and Jets had failed to pay doctors for treatment of players and superannuation payments to staff were late earlier this year. It is also understood the Australian Tax Office is investigating Mr Tinkler’s racing empire, Patinack Farm, for failure to pay superannuation since November.

The full extent of Mr Tinkler’s debt is not known, but the Sydney Morning Herald has speculated his maximum liability could be as high as $$638million, although his spokesman said the figure was ‘‘a mere fraction’’ of that amount.

Mr Tinkler’s wealth, estimated at $$1.13billion last September, has copped a battering in the past few months with Whitehaven’s share price peaking at $$5.58 in April, but slumping to $$3.10 yesterday.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported last month that Mr Tinkler’s Whitehaven shares – worth $$1.18billion in April – were valued at $$657million on August 25. That equated to losing $$4million a day.

Mr Tinkler, who moved from Newcastle to Singapore in June, was forced to pull his $$5.3billion bid to privatise Whitehaven last month because of financing issues.

Queensland coal explorer Blackwood is pursuing Mr Tinkler in the courts for $$28.4million owed from a promised equity placement.

Mr Tinkler failed to sell his racing empire for $$200million, which is apparently about a $$100million loss on the amount he has pumped into the sport.

Mr Tinkler reportedly pays about $$500,000 a week to run the racing operation.