Tinkler companies avoid court  

NATHAN Tinkler has come to a confidential 11th-hour settlement with Queensland mining contractor Sedgman, allowing three of his companies to avoid court wind-up applications.

Sedgman announced yesterday afternoon the parties had reached an “in-principle settlement” just days before the matters were due to be heard in the Brisbane Supreme Court, but neither party would confirm if any cash payment had yet been made.

The Newcastle Herald reported last week that Sedgman had moved on a payment demand issued in September for more than $2 million from Tinkler Group Holdings, Newcastle Knights and Jets naming right sponsor Hunter Ports, and Newcastle builder Bolkm.

The money was owed for scoping work Sedgman did on Mr Tinkler’s failed $2.5-billion fourth coal-loader bid on the old BHP Steelworks site at Mayfield.

The wind-up applications against Hunter Ports and Tinkler Group Holdings were due to be heard on Monday and against Bolkm on October 22.

‘‘Leading resource sector services company Sedgman Limited today announced that an in-principal commercial settlement has been reached in respect of the legal proceedings between the company and the three Tinkler controlled entities,” Sedgman’s statement said.

“At this stage, Sedgman will not be proceeding with the applications on Monday.”

It is understood Sedgman won a contract, worth less than $10million, for feasibility work on the proposed coal-loader, but payment dried up after the NSW government blocked the plan in January.

Sedgman was among a number of companies seeking payment from the business empire of Mr Tinkler, who relocated from Newcastle to Singapore in June.

Mr Tinkler’s Sydney-based public relations spokesman declined to comment yesterday.

Hunter Ports, which moved its offices from Newcastle to Brisbane last month, is the naming rights sponsor of both Mr Tinkler’s national sporting organisations the Newcastle Knights and Newcastle Jets.

Bolkm is part of Newcastle’s Buildev Group, pursued in the NSW Land and Environment Court by property giant Mirvac for more than $17million to settle an agreed purchase of a Steel River industrial site.

Mr Tinkler is the largest individual shareholder in Buildev Group, and the dispute is set down for a hearing on October 23 and 24.

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