Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Nats milked troubled Solid Energy for cash

David

SHEARER

Labour Leader
13 March 2013 MEDIA STATEMENT

Nats milked troubled Solid Energy for cash

Ministers pressured Solid Energy to increase its debt levels so it could return bigger dividends to the Government despite knowing the company was facing financial difficulties, says Labour Leader David Shearer.

“Bill English knew that coal prices were forecast to decline in 2009 but still urged Solid Energy to increase its gearing (debt to equity) ratio. That means ‘go out and borrow more’ despite knowing there was trouble ahead.

“The Finance Minister told Parliament today he didn’t know coal prices were going to decline. But documents obtained by Labour show that he did.

“In May 2009, shareholding ministers, including Bill English, wrote to Solid Energy expressing disappointment with the ‘forecast decline’ in its financial performance and ‘dramatic decline in profitability and dividends’.

“In it, they urge Solid Energy to increase its gearing ratio despite confirming that they’re aware there has been a ‘significant decline’ in forecast coal prices.

“At the same time, the Government was demanding increased dividends. And Solid Energy paid up, returning $130 million over four years, including $30 million in late 2011 by which time coal prices had further declined and the company was in financial distress.

“The company’s total borrowing ballooned from $13 million in 2009 to $191 million the following year and $313 million by 2012.

“John Key and his ministers are desperately dumping the blame on the Solid Energy board. But the real blame rests with them. They were urging the company to borrow more despite knowing stormy financial times were ahead. They knew the company was in trouble but continued to treat it like a cash cow.

“It’s time John Key took responsibility. While Solid Energy’s woes are complex and this is not the only factor in its decline, the pressure from ministers to borrow more and pay bigger dividends certainly contributed to its current dire financial straits,” said David Shearer.

ENDS

NOTE: Letter from shareholding ministers to Solid Energy attached
Letter_from_Ministers_to_Solid_Energy_May_2009.pdf

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Legal Fudging Of The GCSB Revelations

As many have noted, the Hager/Snowden revelations of the spying by our security agencies on our Pacific neighbours and allies is a virtual re-run of the pre-election debate.

Unfortunately, it is also a forerunner of the kind of “ debate” we can expect during the upcoming review of the security agency powers, in June. It is a situation where the government (a) stonewalls, (b) baldly asserts that mass surveillance is not occurring despite the Snowden evidence that it is, and (c) claims that the GCSB actions were lawful.

Yet as Greens Co-Leader Russel Norman says, this can be true only if the legislation passed last year by the Key government has made the mass surveillance of New Zealanders – and the related handing over of their private data to the NSA – lawful. More>>

Latest:

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Women's Day, March 8: It’s Time For Men To Step Up For Gender Equality

UN Women is launching the HeForShe campaign in New Zealand at the International Women's Day Parliamentary Breakfast, and is calling on New Zealand men — including politicians and community and sports leaders — to show their commitment to gender equality by signing up to this global campaign. More>>

ALSO:

Teina Pora Wins Appeal: Gordon Campbell On The Privy Council Decision

The quashing of the convictions of Teina Pora for the rape and murder of Susan Burdett in 1992 has shone a spotlight once again on a major gap in the New Zealand justice system... More>>

ALSO:

Urgent Bill Planned: MP Pay Rises To Match Public Service

Prime Minister John Key today announced an overhaul of the Remuneration Authority Act, tying MP salaries to those of the wider public sector, which will be passed under urgency. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Press Conference: MP Pay Rises, Solid Energy, Iraq

Prime Minister John Key answered questions in his Post-Cabinet press conference about the Iraq deployment, Solid Energy and National’s decision to overhaul the Remuneration Authority Act. More>>

ALSO:

Worksafe: MSD Charged Over Work And Income Ashburton Shooting

WorkSafe NZ has laid one charge against the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) in relation to the shooting at the MSD Ashburton office on 1 September 2014 in which two Work and Income staff were killed and another was injured. More>>

ALSO:

Iraq: Ex-Hostage Says Government Not Putting NZers, Iraqis First

Harmeet Singh Sooden is travelling to Iraq in the coming weeks to work with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) on a short-term assignment. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news