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One of Nathan Tinkler's private companies, Mulsanne Resources, has been placed in liquidation after failing to come up with $28.4 million owed to coal exploration company Blackwood Corporation.
The NSW Supreme Court appointed Ferrier Hodgson as liquidators after settlement negotiations, which had been going on for the past fortnight, failed.
Mulsanne is a $1 shelf company, and one of nearly 100 companies controlled by the coal baron. Lawyers for Blackwood are now expected to chase Tinkler personally for the funds.
Mulsanne earlier this year agreed to take up 95 million shares in a placement at 30 cents a share – then a 50% premium to the prevailing share price – to fund Blackwood's exploration campaign.
But Mulsanne did not come up with the money it owed Blackwood and if Ferrier Hodgson finds it has not had enough assets to cover the Blackwood liability, Tinkler could be charged with insolvent trading.
Ferrier Hodgson confirmed its appointment as liquidator in a statement this morning.
"In their role as liquidators, John Melluish and Robyn Duggan will investigate the causes of the collapse and whether there have been any breaches of the Corporations Act," the statement said.
"As part of their investigation, they will explore the circumstances surrounding Mulsanne Resources' agreement to invest in coal exploring company Blackwood Corporation."
Ferrier Hodgson said details of the liquidators' findings will be included in a report that will be delivered to creditors in early 2013.
Mulsanne's liquidation marks the first time one of Tinkler's companies has been liquidated despite ongoing reports of his financial troubles.
The coal baron lost his bid for control of Whitehaven Resources earlier this month when fellow shareholders failed to support Tinkler and backed the board instead.
It's been a spectacular fall from grace for Tinkler, who was listed as worth $1.13 billion on last year's Rich List.
He has been fighting fires on all fronts since then and while he managed to settle his $17 million dispute with Mirvac, he does not seem to have been so successful with Blackwood.
This article first appeared at LeadingCompany’s sister site, SmartCompany.