Tinkler Steps Down as Coal Company Boss Amid Bankruptcy Case

  • Former coal baron plans to appeal federal court judgment
  • Tinkler says he's committed to seeing plans fulfilled

Nathan Tinkler, chief executive officer of Australian Pacific Coal Ltd., poses for a photograph in Sydney, Australia, on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. Tinkler said demand for higher-quality Australian thermal coal will increase. Photographer: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg *** Local Caption *** Nathan Tinkler

Former mining magnate Nathan Tinkler stepped down as managing director of Australian Pacific Coal Ltd. after he was found to be bankrupt by a federal court judge.

Tinkler’s role at the company will depend on an appeal against the ruling, expected by early next week, he said in a phone interview. The bankruptcy judgment filed Tuesday comes after GE Commercial Australasia Pty claimed Tinkler owed about A$2.8 million ($2 million) on a jet. The ruling doesn’t affect the company’s plans, he said.

“While I’m disappointed that I have to step down as managing director, it’s the right thing to do,” he said. “I’m committed to seeing the company’s plans fulfilled.”

Australian Pacific Coal, which has a market value of about A$78 million, agreed in December to buy coal assets from Anglo American Plc in what would be a return to the sector for Tinkler, who is the largest shareholder in the company with a 37 percent stake, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The electrician-turned-entrepreneur was ranked as Australia’s youngest billionaire at the age of 35 by BRW magazine in 2011 until his wealth was slashed after a series of court cases and asset sales.

The judge ordered a 21-day stay on the ruling, according to the filing. While the businessman argued in the documents that he is solvent, “the evidence relied upon by Mr. Tinkler did not support his contention,” the judge ruled.

Australian Pacific Coal was halted from trading today after closing Monday at 1.8 cents.

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