Palmer in shock settlement deal

UPDATE: CLIVE Palmer has reached a settlement agreement with the Special Purpose Liquidators of Queensland Nickel, agreeing to repay millions of dollars to the government, employees and unsecured creditors.

The eleventh-hour agreement comes more than two weeks into a mammoth Supreme Court trial over the refinery's collapse.

After days of delays for out-of-court discussions between Palmer, lawyers for his companies and liquidators, the parties today told the Brisbane Supreme Court the claim brought by the Special Purpose Liquidator had been settled.

Queensland Nickel Special Purpose Liquidator, Stephen Parbery of KPMG, said the last-minute agreement was "in the best interest of creditors".

"The complexities of the legal issues facing Mr Palmer and his co-defendants, and the resistance from these parties to the recovery actions, caused lengthy delays to the commencement of the trial," Mr Parbery said.

"With the full weight of the evidence being laid before the defendants ahead of the trial, settlement negotiations were initiated as the trial commenced.

"This settlement is in the best interests of creditors and provides for the full repayment of the Commonwealth's FEG debt, all other outstanding employee entitlements, and a full recovery for the majority of unsecured creditors."

While the settlement figure has not been disclosed, it's understood the deal will see the full repayment of the $74 million paid by the Commonwealth to workers as part of the Fair Entitlement Guarantee.

A small number of disputed creditor claims are still to be dealt with by the General Purpose Liquidators, who remain involved in litigation to recover claims against Mr Palmer's company, Mineralogy.

 

 

EARLIER: ANOTHER Clive Palmer deal over the Queensland Nickel collapse is being finalised,with lawyers at the $200 million liquidation trial requesting a two-day adjournment to iron out the details.

The self-represented billionaire businessman was again absent from the Brisbane Supreme Court today, where liquidators' claims against him are being heard following the Townsville refinery's demise.

Clive Palmer. Picture: Jono Searle/AAP
Clive Palmer. Picture: Jono Searle/AAP

It was left up to a top lawyer for the liquidators, Shane Doyle, to advise the court that Mr Palmer and his co-defendants had reached a "conditional agreement" with liquidators.

"(This) may substantially reduce the issues to be tried," he said.

Mr Doyle asked Justice Debra Mullins to stand the trial down until Thursday so the liquidators can make an application to the Federal Court related to the deal.

No details about the agreement have been released.

Mr Palmer made his first concession during the trial on Thursday, agreeing to pay $18 million to settle an $88 million claim for unpaid Aurizon rail transport fees, the largest creditor claim against him.

He had previously said he had "a moral responsibility" to fight liquidators.

The court has previously heard that as the refinery hurtled towards collapse in late 2015, the ailing company was $25 million in the red and losing $5 million more each month with creditors circling.

The refinery's debt-riddled predicament came to a head in January 2016 when Aurizon rejected the Palmer team's payment plan for their rail transport debts and threatened to suspend its services.

QN then entered voluntary administration, which led to the refinery closing three months later.

The trial continues on Thursday.