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Solid Energy's cashflows improve

Sunday 17 Mar 2013 2:42 p.m.

Solid Energy's cashflows are better than expected as talks continue

Solid Energy's cashflows are better than expected as talks continue

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Solid Energy's cashflows are better than expected, Finance Minister Bill English says as talks continue with its bankers.

He told Q+A today talks with the state-owned coal miner's banks would last for months.

"There's discussions going on with the banks now about stabilising Solid Energy. Some of the information around its cashflows is a bit more positive than we might have expected."

By the end of June the Government would look at options for recovering value, and decide whether there was an on-going viable business, he said.

The Government announced in February that Solid Energy was in talks with its bankers. The state-owned enterprise, which was a candidate for partial privatisation, has $389 million of debt.

Mr English did not go as far as saying that Solid Energy was out of trouble.

He said banks had an important role to play.

"They've lent money, and as lenders, they take risks."

Solid Energy's former chief executive Don Elder has said he was first hired in 2000 to close the state coal miner down. He went on to build the company up during a period of high coal prices. It is now in trouble again after coal prices fell.

The Government has revealed that Solid Energy had plans to become a national natural resources company and had wanted first right of refusal to develop New Zealand's resources.


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