Qld Nickel ‘insolvent’ before administrators called in: Judge

A SUPREME Court judge has found Clive Palmer's Queensland Nickel refinery was insolvent before administrators were called in at the Yabulu refinery in January 2016.

Justice Debra Mullins this morning handed down her 92-page judgement in the long-running case against billionaire Clive Palmer and a number of his businesses including Queensland Nickel and his flagship company Mineralogy.

"The issue of QNI's solvency as at 13 January 2016 was significantly affected by the deterioration in the nickel price during 2015 that was forecast to continue until mid 2016," Justice Mullins wrote.

That external factor was combined with the decline over a number of years in QNI's net asset position …, the decline in working capital, the decline in cash, consistent trading losses and the pattern of deferral of payment of trade creditors outside the usual terms that was discernible from September 2015 onwards.

"When that trading history was coupled with no anticipated improvement in the nickel price for some months and the lack of access to sufficient credit or realistic financial support, I conclude that as a matter of fact and commercial reality QNI was insolvent from and including 13 January 2016."

Justice Mullins also dismissed a claim by liquidators that Mineralogy was indebted to the collapsed refinery.

The Townsville-based refinery collapsed in January 2016 with more than $200 million in debts and leaving more than 800 people out of work.

Originally published as Qld Nickel 'insolvent' before administrators called in: Judge