Australian news, and some related international items

$1 billion loan to Adani Carmichael mine project a big loser for taxpayers?

Adani loan too much of a risk for taxpayers according to independent study, The Age, Mark Kenny, 31 July 17, 

A $1 billion concessional loan to the controversial Adani Carmichael mine project in Queensland’s Galilee Basin could expose taxpayers to a high risk of losing their money, according to an independent business analysis.

The economic assessment of the troubled project’s outlook found the collapsing coal price, the uncertain global picture for thermal coal, and the $21.7 billion project’s heavy reliance on external financing contributed to a high risk for taxpayers.

Among the problems was Adani’s hope of using the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility to fund a key part of the project – a rail link to Abbot Point – while relying extensively for security on the availability of other, as yet unsecured, debt and equity financing.

The assessment was done by the business consulting firm, ACIL Allen, and commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation. The study was fully independent of both the ACF and Adani, and forms the basis of a submission from the environmental group to a Senate Economics References Committee currently examining the “Governance and Operation of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility”.

Noting that a number of unknown commercial factors made definitive third-party assessment problematic, ACIL Allen found there were multiple reasons why a public loan from the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility appeared risky……..

ACIL Allen also highlighted a contradiction between the Infrastructure Facility’s rationale, which is to provide finance to economy enhancing infrastructure projects that are unable to secure private capital funding, while also relying on the project principals’ assurances that adequate private investment will become available for the mine to go ahead.

“It is not clear how the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility could meet the direction from government that there be an expectation of full repayment of the loan with interest, while providing support only if commercial financiers do not provide sufficient finance for the project to proceed. It seems that the expectation could not be high if sufficient private sector finance is not forthcoming.”….

ACIL Allen said amid the uncertainties, “one thing is clear” about the project. “The substantial decline of thermal coal prices since 2011 has stripped in excess of $A40 per tonne from profit (after adjusting much larger US$ price declines for depreciation of the $A). This has raised doubts about the likelihood of any significant surplus of revenue over full costs (including a reasonable risk-adjusted rate of return on investment) in medium- and long-term timeframes.”


August 2, 2017 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, business, politics

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