Pay day for Nathan Tinkler

NATHAN Tinkler’s billion dollar pay day arrived yesterday when shareholders from his company Aston Resources Limited voted overwhelmingly in support of a takeover by Whitehaven Coal.

Aston shareholders voted 99.94 per cent in favour of the deal that was valued at $5.1 billion and Mr Tinkler became the major shareholder of the merged entity with 21 per cent.

His stake in Whitehaven was valued at more than $1 billion and his stocks rose further when his private coal exploration company, Boardwalk Resources, was included in the deal.

Whitehaven shareholders voted 90 per cent in favour of thetakeover of Aston and 86 per cent in favour of including Boardwalk Resources.

The merger created Australia’s largest listed independent coal company but Mr Tinkler declined the

The transactions remain subject to approval of the Federal Court of Australia at a hearing on April 18.

Aston deputy chairman Mark Vaile told the meeting the transaction brought together two highly complementary and growth-focused groups.

Whitehaven managing director Tony Haggarty said the tie-up created an entity with a greater ability to attract top-shelf staff, pursue growth opportunities and develop its pipeline of assets.

The takeover combines Whitehaven’s five open-cut mines and Aston’s 85 per cent stake of the undeveloped Maules Creek project, all of which are in the Gunnedah Basin.

Whitehaven has port capacity through the Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group coal terminal, in which it has an 11 per cent interest.

Mr Tinkler, 36, was voted the richest person in Australia under the age of 40 for the past two years and last year bought the Newcastle Knights national rugby league team.

He made headlines last week when he decided to hand back Newcastle United’s A-League licence 19 months after bailing out the financially stricken soccer club.

Football Federation Australia officials threatened to sue Mr Tinkler for up to $100 million for breach of his ownership contract that extended until 2020.

Former Aston employee Hamish Collins began legal proceedings last week seeking a $189 million payout for an alleged breach of an employment contract between 2008 and 2010.

Mr Collins claimed he was entitled to an ‘‘equity participation’’ provision from Aston Resources equivalent to 5 per cent of the value of the company’s main mining assets at the time.

* The reporter is a shareholder in Whitehaven Coal.

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