Solid Energy's Southland assets could have buyers

Eastern Coal, Bathurst Resources Limited's domestic coal business, would considering buying Solid Energy's Southland assets.
JOHN HAWKINS/FAIRFAX NZ

Eastern Coal, Bathurst Resources Limited's domestic coal business, would considering buying Solid Energy's Southland assets.

Buyers are already eyeing up Solid Energy's Southland assets, following the coal company's voluntary administration.

Eastern Coal, Bathurst Resources Limited's domestic coal business, owns the Takitimu Mine in Nightcaps and holds the Albury Prospecting Permit and the Ohai Exploration Permit.

Bathurst Resources Limited investor relations general manager Sam Aarons said the company was interested in looking at all of Solid Energy's assets.

"Solid have got some assets there [Southland] that do fit in with our strategy," she said.

It was early days, but if Solid Energy decided to sell off its Southland mines, Ohai and New Vale, near Mataura, the company would be "having a good look" at them, she said.

READ MORE:
Solid Energy announces voluntary administration ahead of sale
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The debt-laden Solid Energy announced its short-term administration, ahead of a possible break up of the company, on Thursday.

Labour leader Andrew Little described the sale as a "fire sale" and said other coal mines were continuing to operate profitably.

Bathurst still believed in the coal industry, Aarons said.

"We see a strong future for coal in the South Island. I think it's a robust industry, it's certainly got a strong future."

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Eastern Coal would take a strong and considered approach as it waited for the outcome of Solid Energy, she said.

"Whatever we do we have to make sure it fits in with our strategy."

A Solid Energy meeting in September would ask creditors to agree to halt repayments for two-and-a-half years while an orderly sale was conducted.

Ohai Community Development Area subcommittee chairman Mark Wishart said they would have to wait and see whether Eastern Coal would consider buying the Ohai mine.

Wishart worried the company could buy the mine but not keep it operating.

However, he doubted that would happen because the company would not make a profit from "locking up" resources.

"I dare say it would be good news if they planned to keep it operating."

 - Stuff

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