January 04, 2010 12:00AM Griffin coal Enters administration
ONE of Western Australia’s biggest privately owned companies, Griffin Coal, last night appointed administrators after missing $30 million in debt and tax payments due to be made on December 31.
The company, which has been operating since 1923 in the Collie area southeast of Perth, is controlled by one of Australia’s most reclusive businessmen, Ric Stowe, who divides his time between Perth and Monaco.
NEWS UPDATE - Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:22pm AEDT Griffin Coal deal struck
The administrator of Griffin Coal Mining has struck a deal with the State Government which will allow a $4 million advance payment to be made to the collapsed miner.
Brian McMaster, the KordaMentha partner who was appointed to examine the company, said the 300-strong workforce would operate on a "business as usual" basis while he assessed the condition of the business.
Griffin Coal is a unit of the Griffin Group, which was founded by businessman Rick Stowe and has investments in energy, property, agriculture, coal, office products and helicopters, according to its website.
The ATO investigation concluded in 2004 that the Griffin Group had sent money offshore and claimed improper deductions for multi-million-dollar debts, boats and aircraft expenses. It said the group understated its income by $183m, upon which the $102m bill, including penalties and interest charges, was calculated. The ATO imposed penalties worth $14m because it found evidence of "evasion" and "a high degree of carelessness" in Griffin Group subsidiaries, according to court documents.
Mr Stowe has also been waging a battle against the ATO over the deductibility of the $6.1m of management fees that his private company, Devereaux Holdings, reportedly paid to him and his chief financial officer, Graham Croots, in 2003-04.
An ATO audit of the company in 2005 disallowed almost all of the $3.15m deduction claimed for 2003-04, saying the fees had been inflated.
Cash flow problems Bring down griffin coal
It also emerged that Griffin is understood to be owed $140 million by Monaco-based Ric Stowe’s family company, Devereaux Holdings – Griffin’s ultimate parent company – through a loan that has grown in recent years.
Griffin Coal said December 11 that it would ask bondholders to agree to waive their rights to take enforcement action after it missed a bond payment due December 1, citing a “a temporary liquidity shortage”.
It was $109m in 2006, according to that year’s prospectus for Griffin’s $400 million bond issue, reports The Australian.
As well as mining complications, cashflow has been particularly affected since 2006 by attempts to create new markets by building two power plants, Bluewaters 1 and 2, in the area as a result of Griffin losing its last contract to supply WA utility Verve Energy
Mon Jan 4, 2010 9:00am AEDT
The Premier Colin Barnett and the Energy Minister Peter Collier have met the administrators KordaMentha today.
Mr Collier emerged from the meeting to announce the Government would not be putting any money into the company which he believes will be sold.
"I would imagine there would be plenty of players in the field and I don’t imagine they would have too many problems solving that issue or selling the company," he said.
January 14, 2010
Griffin Coal Mining Co, a failed Australian coal mining company with debts of at least A$700 million ($646 million), may be sold to a Chinese or Indian buyer, its administrator said. “There’s been a number of expressions of interest so far from overseas and domestic companies,” Brian McMaster, a partner at administrator KordaMentha
The griffin group administrato ( korda mentha ) profile in the group
The Griffin Coal Mining Company Pty Ltd
ACN 008 667 285
W.R. Carpenter Holdings Pty Ltd
ACN 008 401 796
Griffin Energy Group Pty Ltd
ACN 008 681 696
Carpenter Mine Management Pty Ltd
ACN 106 053 703
Carpenter Mine Management Holdings Pty Ltd
ACN 122 080 684
(All Administrators Appointed)
Date of Appointment: 3 January 2010
Appointees: Brian McMaster, Scott Kershaw, Cliff Rocke and Mark Mentha