Griffin bondholders keen to take control

GRIFFIN Coal’s creditors are reportedly planning to take up equity in the collapsed Western Australian coal producer if the sales process fails.
Griffin bondholders keen to take control Griffin bondholders keen to take control Griffin bondholders keen to take control Griffin bondholders keen to take control Griffin bondholders keen to take control

A Komatsu 830E trucks being loaded by Griffin Coal's PC5500 shovels.

Blair Price

Administrator KordaMentha will sort out firm offers from at least 16 indicative bids for Griffin by the end of this month and aims for a sale by the end of February, according to the Australian Financial Review.

The newspaper quoted a source “close to the transaction” as saying the bondholders were working on an alternative plan if the Griffin sale does not go ahead.

The total outstanding debt of Griffin exceeds $1.8 billion.

Back in late September, Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union WA’s secretary of mining and energy, Gary Wood, said final binding bids must be made by November 5, while the deadline for completing the sales transaction was December 15.

But the reported delay could mean some bids took longer to come in than expected or that more bids were received than anticipated.

Wood, who is part of the committee of creditors, previously told ILN there was strong bidding interest from India, China and a Singaporean company.

The Federal Court pushed back the next creditors’ meeting from the end of this September to February because some of the indicative bids for Griffin were received later than expected.

Griffin has also reportedly stitched up a 2.6 million tonnes per annum domestic supply agreement with Perdaman Chemicals for its planned $3.5 billion coal-to-urea plant in Collie from 2013-14.

Though former coal tycoon Ric Stowe put Griffin into voluntary administration in January after failing to make payments to bondholders and the Australian Taxation Office, the company’s thermal coal is increasingly finding its way to India.

Griffin exports its coal by railing it to Kwinana and then up to Fremantle’s port.

In September, Wood said Griffin was producing about 1Mtpa of export coal and about 2.7Mtpa for the domestic market.

Griffin operates the Ewington and Muja mines near Collie, 220 kilometres southeast of Perth.

The business also owns the Bluewaters Power Station, which has about $1 billion of debt from a consortium of around 17 banks.

The collapse of Griffin contrasts with the strong acquisition and joint venture activity in the Australian coal space since the global financial crisis.