Legal action against Linc grinds to halt

Legal action against embattled underground coal gasification company Linc Energy has been indefinitely delayed after the company announced it had gone into voluntary administration.

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PPB Advisory administrator Stephen Longley said the Queensland government would have to apply to the courts to progress the five charges against the company.

It follows the decision by a Queensland court in March to commit Linc Energy to go to trial over allegations a leak at one of its plants caused serious environmental harm.

Administrators made the announcement about the company’s future to the Singapore Stock Exchange – where it is listed – on Friday afternoon.

In a statement on Linc’s website, administrators said the board decided it “was in the best interests of the company” to wind up its operations.

Mr Longley said they would meet with creditors in 10 days’ time to work out what should be done with the company’s assets.

Linc Energy’s 57 staff and 20 external creditors are owed an estimated $150 million.

He said he expected them to receive a portion of their entitlements, but he was unsure how valuable the company’s assets would be to buyers given the “depressed” value of coal, oil and gas.

Mr Longley said the Queensland court case had impacted on the board’s decision to go into administration.

He said Linc Energy directors had wanted to restructure the business, but investors were nervous about the charges it was facing.

“The court action was clearly an impediment to the restructure,” he said.

Linc Energy was charged with five counts of causing serious environmental harm after an investigation into a leak at its Hopeland plant, west of Brisbane, caused the hospitalisation of four workers with suspected gas poisoning.

The American subsidiary of Linc Energy is not affected by the announcement and will continue to operate.