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Fancy losing $18m in a day? Buy into a Queensland coal terminal


Coal has proved to be a troublesome issue for the State Government after its latest foray to back the sector lost it about $18 million in the space of a few hours.

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Treasurer Cameron Dick announced before the election the State Government would invest $128 million for a 9.9 per cent stake in the float of the Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal, an asset the Government once owned but sold off more than a decade ago.

The terminal, now known as Dalrymple Bay Infrastructure, listed on the ASX today to an underwhelming response.

Its shares, which the Governmsnt holds through QIC, fell  14 per cent, losing $18 million from the Government’s 9.9 per cent stake in the company.

The Government’s investment is long term and there is every chance DBI will rebound but the fall is likely to be blamed on the lack of appetite for coal and the risks it now poses for investors. The recent bans by China on Australia’s coal add to concerns around coal’s impact on climate change.

But DBI has a stapled security that would pay a yield of 7 per cent, a healthy return for most investors.

The timing was also bad for DBI. Its float followed revelations that the Port of Gladstone did not ship one tonne of coal to China in November as that country’s ban on Australian coal started to bite.

Asked about the coal issue and how it would affect the Government’s royalty revenue in Estimates today Dick said: “We’ve got the impact of the trade tensions with China.

“We’ve tried to factor that into our fiscal and economic forecasts. We don’t know how long those trade restrictions will apply and whether they will be escalated further.”

He said coal was ongoing challenge in the short term and budget forecasts of a $2 billion drop in coal, LNG and land royalties were conservative and price assumptions were well below other forecasters.

“We don’t think coal export tonnages will exceed 2018-19 levels until 22-23,” he said.



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