Does Tinkler have any friends left?

Nathan Tinkler lost his bid for control of Whitehaven Resources yesterday after he fell short of the votes needed to oust the miner’s board and there’s no signs the coal magnate will be able to get fellow investors on board.

Tinkler used his 19.4% stake – amounting to some 190 million shares in Whitehaven – to oppose all resolutions put to the meeting yesterday as part of his campaign against Whitehaven’s board.

As a protest against Whitehaven’s falling share price, and what Tinkler claims is poor disclosure, he opposed Whitehaven’s remuneration report and the re-election of five directors including chairman Mark Vaile at the company’s board meeting yesterday.

But fellow shareholders failed to support Tinkler and backed the board instead.

Australian Shareholders Association representative Stephen Mayne told Fairfax that Tinkler appeared to be “pretty friendless”, and said while the ASA had concerns regarding the company’s remuneration practices they were “not overwhelming”.

Despite his failure, Tinkler has not ruled out another takeover attempt for Whitehaven saying a takeover is “possible” as he tries to free himself from a standstill agreement with Whitehaven so he can negotiate with other shareholders.

The problem is that while Whitehaven’s board may have made some mistakes in the past, the company is still regarded as one of the best managed mining operations in Australia.

Tinkler hasn’t made it clear what he would do differently if he did have control.

He has never built or run a coal mine himself before.

Meanwhile, Tinkler’s attempts to gain control of Whitehaven appear to be getting more and more desperate after he walked away from a $5.25 million bid for the miner earlier this year.

It’s been a spectacular fall from grace for the coal magnate who was listed as worth $1.13 billion on last year’s Rich List.

Tinkler’s been fighting fires on all fronts since then and while he managed to settle his $17 million dispute with Mirvac last week, he is still waging a series of legal actions over unpaid debts, including a $28 million claim from Blackwood Corporation.

After spending more than $300 million buying up bloodstock, Tinkler failed to sell the lot to Sheik Fahad for $200 million a year later but this week he managed to get back $2.78 million at least through the sale of 191 brood mares at the Magic Millions.

That’s why Tinkler’s focus remains firmly on Whitehaven, which is his main source of wealth even though it is reported the coal magnate’s $635 million holding in the miner carries a substantial amount of debt.

With Tinkler’s recent run of missed payments and asset sales it’s no surprise that Whitehaven investors are not holding their breath for a takeover deal.

Investors don’t believe Tinkler has the ability to make a big takeover bid after the last one failed and there is no support for his “kill the board” push.

Unless the board makes some serious errors or Tinkler manages to drive down the share price with his takeover tactics, the coal magnate is likely to remain friendless in his push for a spill.


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