Tinkler takeover of Whitehaven reaches moment of truth

WHITEHAVEN Coal has successfully completed the compulsory acquisition of Coalworks shares as the market awaits an announcement from Nathan Tinkler tomorrow about his plans to privatise the entire company in a $5.3 billion deal.
Tinkler takeover of Whitehaven reaches moment of truth Tinkler takeover of Whitehaven reaches moment of truth Tinkler takeover of Whitehaven reaches moment of truth Tinkler takeover of Whitehaven reaches moment of truth Tinkler takeover of Whitehaven reaches moment of truth

Nathan Tinkler

Lou Caruana

The clock has been ticking on Tinkler as questions remain whether he would be able to raise the funds for the proposed takeover, with Whitehaven’s share price languishing at $3.42 despite Tinkler offering $5.20 per share for the New South Wales producer.

Tinkler’s Mulsanne Resources recently missed an extended deadline to pay the $28.4 million to Queensland exploration group Blackwood Corporation agreed as part of a placement.

Tinkler, who now resides in Singapore and holds $500 million of personal debt, is currently attempting to get Asian partners to back his takeover of Whitehaven which comes just weeks after it successfully merged with his Aston and Boardwalk Resources companies.

On July 13, Whitehaven announced it would grant the Tinkler Group access to due diligence in order to further develop an indicative and non-binding proposal for a Tinkler Group-led bid vehicle to take Whitehaven private.

The due diligence period began on July 23 when the parties executed a confidentiality agreement and is due to expire on August 23.

Whitehaven is also expected to release its profits report this week which will shed light on the impact of the newly installed longwall at Narrabri.

Frustrating the commissioning of its longwall were problems with its automation software and developing techniques to deal with the relatively hard coal at Narrabri mine.

In its quarterly statement, the company said sufficient longwall retreating was yet to occur to achieve initial roof caving, so no experience of caving characteristics was available to date.

Underground installation of the longwall began in early April 2012 and was completed on June 6, with the first longwall coal cut on June 12.

But the company said it was now seeking to address automation software issues with the longwall manufacturer Caterpillar/Bucyrus.

The commissioning and ramp-up of the longwall was expected to take approximately 12 weeks, during which time start-up issues would be addressed, any rectification and modification works done and operating practices developed, Whitehaven said.

Assuming the longwall commissioning and ramp-up proceeds broadly as planned, forecast production is between 4 and 5 million tonnes of run of mine coal in the 2013 financial year.

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