Fears over Tinkler’s coal comeback as a key payment goes up in smoke

Fears over Tinkler’s coal comeback as a key payment goes up in smoke

Former Rich Lister Nathan Tinkler has missed a payment due as part of his $150 million acquisition of Peabody Energy’s Wilkie Creek coalmine, raising fears his resource sector comeback could be in jeopardy.

In mid-May, Tinkler made headlines after his Singapore-based investment vehicle Bentley Resources agreed to purchase the Queensland coal mine in a deal estimated to be worth up to $150 million.

The deal for the mine, which had been closed since December 2013, included $US70 million in cash and the assumption of rail/port obligations and other liabilities, with the deal backed by Jefferies, which is a subsidiary of Leucadia National Corp.

Tinkler claimed the deal would be financed through the sale of his horse racing stable, Patinack Farms, to United Arab Emirates-based investment consortium Cibola Capital in May.

However, in an interview with Fairfax Media late last month, retail magnate and horseracing industry personality Gerry Harvey claimed that he was still owed millions of dollars by Tinkler, and had a caveat over his racing interests.

While not confirmed directly by Harvey, the report cited unnamed sources in the racing industry who claimed Tinkler’s debts to Harvey could be as high as $40 million.

Tinkler responded with an interview in The Australian, claiming the slow pace of the Patinack Farms stable sale was the only major hurdle to completing the Wilkie Creek coalmine purchase. Tinkler also said he intends to reopen the mine by the fourth quarter of this year.

Earlier this week, Crikey contributor Kiwa Fisher raised new concerns about Cibola Capital, noting its website contained multiple copyright and trademark infringements, mangled English, and dubious claims.

The Cibola Capital website was subsequently pulled, replaced with a single page website that simply reads “Cibola Capital is a private family investment office”.

In addition, the UAE Ministry of Economy’s website indicates that the business names Cibola Capital, CSI Investments and Corporate Services International Investments are all available to be registered in the Emirates.

Tinkler had once topped BRW’s Young Rich List and was worth an estimated $1.1 billion by the age of 35.

A former Hunter Valley mine electrician, Tinkler made his fortune from risky coal plays during the mining boom 2009 to 2012.

However, Tinkler’s fortune, which once included a stake in Whitehaven Coal and a string of sporting teams including the Newcastle Knights in the NRL, quickly evaporated as a result of mounting debts and falling coal prices.

SmartCompany contacted Tinkler for comment but did not receive a response prior to publication.

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