SYDNEY Oct 23 Australian mining magnate Nathan
Tinkler agreed on Tuesday to pay property firm Mirvac Group
A$17 million over a disputed land purchase, avoiding a
public court case with the last minute deal, the second in
Tinkler's Ocean Street Holdings and guarantor Buildev agreed
to pay Mirvac the money next Monday, Oct. 29, and consented to a
court-appointed sequestrator taking charge of the companies'
assets if they fail to do so.
The case is one of a handful of recent lawsuits over missed
payments brought against Tinkler, 36, a former coal mining
electrician who built up a mining, sports club and horse racing
empire after turning a A$1 million bet on an unfancied coal
deposit into a billion dollar fortune.
Tinkler recently relocated to a leafy enclave in Singapore
and his wealth has plummeted in recent months amid cooling
demand for coal from Australia's major export market China.
His largest asset, a 21.4 percent stake in Australia's
biggest independent coal company Whitehaven Coal, has
shrunk in value from about A$1.2 billion at its peak to less
than A$700 million, is heavily leveraged and creditors are
circling, sources have told Reuters.
The young tycoon is selling hundreds of horses from his
horse breeding and racing company, Australia's biggest, Patinack
Farm, at an out-of-season sale next week.
The agreement reached with Mirvac prevents details of
Tinkler's finances being made public during an open court
hearing, which had been scheduled to begin in the New South
Wales (NSW) state Supreme Court on Tuesday.
It follows a similar last minute settlement reached over a
A$2 million debt owed by three other Tinkler firms - Tinkler
Group Holdings, Hunter Ports and Bolkm - to mining services
company Sedgman shortly before a scheduled hearing in
the Queensland Supreme Court.
A lawyer for Mirvac, Ian Jackman, told the NSW court on
Tuesday that the company would apply to the court for a
sequestrator next week "in the event the expected settlement
does not occur".
Details of the agreement were private, but a source close to
the negotiations told Reuters it would include interest payments
and that Tinkler's companies had agreed to pay court costs.
Mirvac took action after Ocean Street agreed to purchase a
block of land in northern New South Wales as part of a rail
corridor to a former steelworks site where Tinkler planned to
build a coal-loader. Ocean Street failed to complete the
purchase when the state government nixed the coal-loader project
and missed a court-ordered deadline for payment on Sept. 1.
In other upcoming cases, coal miner Blackwood Resources
is seeking to wind up another Tinkler company, Mulsanne
Resources, over A$24 million it says it is owed in a share deal.
Hamish Collins, a former CEO of Aston Resources, is suing
the company for A$157.4 million after alleging Tinkler reneged
on a promise to hand over the equivalent of 5 percent of the
value of the company's main mining assets.
The lawsuit was before Aston's takeover by Whitehaven and
Collins' lawyers have said they will pursue Whitehaven.
(Reporting By Jane Wardell; Editing by Michael Perry)