Solid Energy in voluntary administration

The Herald reports:

The board of state owned coal company has put the company into temporary voluntary administration, the Government has just announced.

Solid Energy chief executive Dan Clifford today encouraged workers to “stick with us”.
However, he accepted it was up to each individual if they tonight wanted to start looking for a new job.

The best thing the company could now do was to continue running the business safely, efficiently and to plan, Mr Clifford said.

Mr Coup said it was too early to say how much the company was worth.

However, he said it was “unlikely” that its sale, or sales, would cover its outstanding debt.
The money the Crown had put in would not be recovered, Mr Coup said.

Very sad for staff and their families.

It is a reminder of why taxpayers should not own commercial trading companies. We should not own Solid Energy. We should not part of Air NZ. I don’t even think we should own parts of the power companies. These are not guaranteed cash cows. I don’t want my taxes spent investing in businesses. I want it spent on public services.

The global coal price is currently $62/mt. It was $180/mt in 2008. When a commodity is globally traded, it can vary massively in price. Just as we are seeing with dairy prices.

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