Solid Energy sale 'will be some relief' - John Key

  • 01/11/2016

Prime Minister John Key says the sale of Solid Energy's mines on the West Coast and Waikato is good news for communities.

A joint venture between Bathurst Resources and Talley's Group has bought the assets of the state-owned company and Mr Key says it looks like the mines will stay in business.

"The reason why I think it's positive is it looks like these assets are being sold as a going concern, so if you take a place like Stockton that will be some relief," he says.

It's expected most Solid Energy staff will have jobs under the new owners.

"While the Crown isn't getting any money back, the creditors are getting more than they initially anticipated," Mr Key says.

"They were believing they'd get not a lot more than 15 cents on the dollar and I think they're getting quite a bit more."

The sale comes a year after Solid Energy went into voluntary administration, and Mr Key says companies owed money by Solid Energy have benefited from it.

When it was placed in administration, Solid Energy owed 1500 creditors $320 million.

New chief executive Tony King says there had been a focus on keeping jobs during the bidding process by selling them as ongoing concerns.

"Our expectation is that a good majority of staff will be employed by the new owners," he said.

The company's administrators, KordaMentha, said creditors could expect to get back between 45 and 55 cents on the dollar.

The sales are expected to be settled in the first half of 2017.

Wellington-based Bathurst Resources and Motueka-headquartered food producer Talley's Group has also bought Rotowaro and Maramarua mines in Waikato.