Queensland Nickel – Digging for Answers Down Under

In one of Australia’s largest and most publicized corporate collapses, FTI Consulting uncovered serious allegations of fraud against Queensland Nickel’s polarizing director and ultimate shareholder, and deployed a cross-segment team to follow the money trail, chase missing assets and help employees and creditors recoup millions owed.

Situtation

FTI Consulting was appointed as administrators and subsequently as liquidators of Queensland Nickel. Once on the job, various anomalies were discovered which required an investigation jointly led by FTI Consulting’s corporate finance, forensic and e-discovery experts. With Clive Palmer, a larger-than-life character at the helm, the situation was quickly deemed one of Australia’s largest corporate failures. The administrators, with guidance from our Strategic Communications professionals, launched an approach that emphasized proactive communications. This addressed the political landscape and various agendas with key stakeholders, including employees and clients of Queensland Nickel, government authorities, creditors and the media.

Our Role

  • As administrator, FTI Consulting assumed control of Queensland Nickel’s assets and business operations while working to identify key risks, stabilize operations and implement controls over expenditures. Concurrently, the team surfaced opportunities to implement operational improvements, cost savings and rationalization to determine the true financial position of the enterprise.
  • In our role as administrator and subsequently as liquidator, various anomalies were discovered. Issues were investigated in full by our forensic and e-discovery experts, and the recovery of assets was pursued determinedly. These covered statutory investigations, the ownership of Queensland Nickel joint venture and Palmer Aviation assets, loans and transactions with related parties, and material donations and gifts, among other items.
  • We played a critical role in ensuring that a proactive, rather than defensive, communications approach was employed to address the political landscape and outside agendas with key stakeholders, including employees and clients of Queensland Nickel, government authorities, creditors and the media.

Our Impact

FTI Consulting provided unmatched expertise, from acting in the role of administrators to bringing forensic and e-discovery capabilities to the investigation and providing end-to-end communications support.

FTI Consulting coordinated the assessment and distribution of payments of approximately AU$70 million to nearly all 787 Queensland Nickel employees.

The actions of our experts led to recouping approximately AU$200 million owed to more than 1,500 creditors.