Blackout fear prompts court win PDF Print E-mail
THE WEST AUSTRALIAN   
Sunday, 23 December 2012 09:19

Fears of widespread blackouts have convinced WA's Supreme Court to allow the $1.2 billion sale of Bluewaters power station in Collie, rejecting a bid by Perdaman Chemicals to derail the transaction.

 

Even though WA has a healthy reserve of power generation, Judge James Edelman highlighted the risk to electricity supplies and that the Japanese buyers of Bluewaters would be disadvantaged if he granted an injunction, and so allowed the sale to proceed.

 

"Evidence filed by the (WA Government) is that a cessation of the operation of Bluewaters could potentially affect the reliability of supply and cost of electricity services (in the South West)," Justice Edelman said.

Bluewaters supplies up to 10 per cent of the South West's power needs.

Perdaman had wanted to force Griffin Coal - which supplies coal to Bluewaters - into liquidation as part of its separate $3.4 billion claim against Griffin's owner Lanco Infratech.

It also sought an injunction over the Bluewaters sale.

The Perth-based Perdaman claimed that Lanco undermined the financing of its planned coal to urea plant in Collie, which at one stage was to have taken coal from Griffin until relations soured.

Perdaman's actions were in a bid to stop Lanco's lender, ICICI Bank, or the Japanese buyers of Bluewaters, being given secured creditor status above the rights of Perdaman. However Perdaman did have a minor victory yesterday when it won a conditional caveat over Griffin's coal tenements, pending the outcome of its $3.4 billion damages claim against Lanco.

Justice Edelman also limited ICICI's so-called step in rights, or guarantees, to $150 million until that case was settled. The Singapore-based ICICI had sought guarantees of $800 million after it loaned the money to Lanco to fund the purchase of Ric Stowe's former coal operation in 2010.

For Lanco yesterday's decision represents a major break to allow it to restore Griffin Coal, which is losing $10 million a month, to profitability. Lanco argues $40 million in new financing facilities will kick in from next month and that the sale of Bluewaters and improved coal supply contracts will inject another $150 million into the business.

Lanco argues $40 million in new financing facilities will kick in from next month.



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