Griffin job loss fears

STRUGGLING Western Australian thermal coal producer Griffin Coal could shed half of its 500-strong workforce next month, according to a bondholder who attended a road show held in Hong Kong on Wednesday.
Griffin job loss fears Griffin job loss fears Griffin job loss fears Griffin job loss fears Griffin job loss fears


Blair Price

After talking to up to six bondholders, Merger Market noted in its report that Worsley Alumina, a 1 million tonnes per annum customer, could switch over to Wesfarmers’ Premier Coal mine for supply.

The mergers and acquisitions intelligence service said Griffin’s major contract with state utility Verve Energy would terminate in June, and this could only further squeeze cash flow.

To add to the company’s financial woes, the current enterprise agreement covering more than 280 Griffin workers will expire next month, according to the Merger Market report.

Merger Market said the loss of the Worsley contract could give Griffin administrator KordaMentha the option of scaling back to production of 2Mtpa using a skeleton workforce.

The report also detailed that production costs per tonne last year were up to the low $A40s last year, up to 48% higher than previously expected.

The report also revealed a short list of buyers could emerge in the next 6-8 weeks, and a noteholder was concerned it could cost $100-200 million to improve infrastructure to allow exports of Griffin’s coal.

ILN is seeking comment from KordaMentha partner Brian McMaster, who is currently overseas.

KordaMentha was appointed administrator of Griffin in January, with the private company’s debts totalling more than $A1 billion.

Of the unsecured creditors, the lion’s share is owed to bondholders who are chasing $538 million between them.

Former Griffin chairman and business tycoon Ric Stowe plans to sell rural property worth more than $130 million, according to other recent reports.

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