Nov

18

 This man is worthy of a movie, which would very much unfold as dailyspec readers would expect, as he made fatal errors on the way up, including, it seems, expecting that the bull market wouldn't pop, and indulging his record cash outflow with much initial hubris. It's not over yet. He can still pull himself back from the brink.

"Boganaire - The Rise and Fall of Nathan Tinkler."

What strikes you about the tale of Tinkler is that he made two fortunes in his lifetime but never made a profit. Loss makers all: from his companies and coal mines to the Newcastle Knights, the Newcastle Jets and the Patinack Farm horse stud.

The other thing is the sheer velocity of the man's spending - the mansions, the cars, the planes, the bloodstock - and his unrelenting battles with creditors. Manning has totted up some 50 actions against Tinkler, mostly for not paying his creditors.

Tinkler made his first fortune scraping together $1 million and buying the unsung Middlemount coal deposit in Queensland. That was in 2006. A year later he sold it to his mentor, Ken Talbot, for $265 million worth of shares in Talbot's rampaging Macarthur Coal.

The timing was exquisite. He cashed out of Macarthur for $442 million in May 2008, then embarked on what must be the biggest spending spree in this country's history. By the time he came to his second ''deal of a lifetime'', he was out of cash, Manning says.

After a reckless spending spree of its own, and crippled by the global financial crisis, the mining giant Rio Tinto was dumping assets. It was early 2009 when Rio put its Maules Creek coal deposit up for sale.

Again, Tinkler saw the potential. He paid $480 million - almost all of it borrowed from US hedge fund Farallon.

All he put down was a 5 per cent deposit, but he didn't even have that. Talbot had tipped in $15 million in a short-term loan.

Aston Resources and Farallon and their lawyers were poised to sign off on the deal in the Brisbane offices of Freehills when Tinkler sent the Aston boys a text message.

He was down at the nearest pub, the Pig 'n' Whistle, in his shorts and thongs. You better come down, he said. Tinkler confessed that he hadn't been able to refinance Talbot. Farallon was about to fund Tinkler into a half a billion dollar deal when they found out his 5 per cent deposit wasn't all his.


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