Queensland Nickel faces liquidation

Queensland Nickel is likely to face liquidation, following recommendations by the administrators.

The future of the company will go to a vote of the creditors on April 22 however FTI Consulting’s final report, handed down this morning, suggested the insolvent company should be wound up.

FTI suggested it was not in the creditors interests to bring the administration to an end, and that if placed into liquidation further investigations would be undertaken to determine the potential for recoveries.

Former employees have been categorised as priority creditors, however as unsecured creditors it was estimated their return on entitlements could be anywhere from zero to 52.31 cents in the dollar.

FTI said it was not aware of any creditors with guarantees from the director, which would enable creditors to pursue debts immediately.

The administrator also found that “certain persons appointed as a Director, or whom may have acted in the capacity of a director” may have contravened sections 180 through 184 of the Corporations Act.

“We have identified significant transactions in value and quantum entered into by QN that appear to be both uncommercial and director-related transactions,” the report said.

“These transactions could be recovered in a liquidation scenario.”

Owner Clive Palmer said it was not his decision to delay payment of entitlements to sacked workers, instead blaming the administrator for the decision.

“On the 10th of March I had $23 million to inject into the operations,” Palmer said, referring to a conditional fund facility which was introduced through a new managing company, Queensland Nickel Sales Pty Ltd.

“He [the administrator] was required under the joint venture agreement to transfer the funds from the company’s account to the new manager.

“He refused to do so. He decided to sack 550 people. He decided not to pay entitlements.

“This is a great scandal, misreported in the press right across the country, that I made a decision not to pay workers’ entitlements. That is complete rubbish.”

Allegations have recently arisen which suggest Palmer acted in the capacity of a shadow director by giving final approval and vetoing purchases for Queensland Nickel, allegations which he denied saying he was only part of a larger purchasing committee.

The controversy around Queensland Nickel has become subject of a number of derisive internet memes…

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.