Black day as ‘King Coal’ mining mogul Richard Budge declared bankrupt

Richard Budge at Hatfield coliiery, Stainforth near DoncasterRichard Budge at Hatfield coliiery, Stainforth near Doncaster
Richard Budge at Hatfield coliiery, Stainforth near Doncaster
A MINING mogul whose former reign over the UK’s pits earned him the nickname King Coal has been declared bankrupt.

Richard Budge, who bought up the bulk of the British coal industry when it was privatised in the 1990s, had the court order issued against him this week following a creditor’s petition.

The 66-year-old, who later acquired Hatfield Colliery in Doncaster, now faces a probe into any overseas assets that could be sold to pay off his undisclosed debts, according to insolvency practitioners Mazars.

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Paul Rouse, head of national creditor services at the accountancy firm, confirmed that his colleagues Guy Hollander and Ed Thomas were appointed as joint bankruptcy trustees in the case by the Secretary of State on Tuesday.

“Clearly Mr Budge is a very experienced businessman and is very well known for his career in the coal industry,” he said.

“There are various aspects of the case that will require investigation, including potential overseas assets.

“However we are currently waiting on the full handover of documentation from the official receiver in Nottingham, which we suspect will arrive next week.”

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A number of businesses linked to Mr Budge have previously hit financial difficulties, with three going into administration when he was their director.

Coalpower, through which he bought Hatfield Colliery in 2001, collapsed in 2003, owing £9m.

In 2006 he formed Powerfuel with Russian firm KRU but that too went into administration in 2010, having failed to raise the £30m needed to upgrade the mine and the £635m needed to build the carbon capture and storage (CCS) scheme planned for land next to the colliery.

Another of his firms, Directional Drilling, entered insolvency proceedings in 2005.

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Mr Budge bought British Coal from the Government through his company RJB Mining for £814m in 1994, but this also ran into trouble and had to ask for £70m in aid from the Government in 2000.

He stepped down a year later from the company – now UK Coal – reportedly under pressure from disgruntled shareholders.

Mr Budge also resigned as a director of family firm AF Budge 10 months before it went into receivership owing £96m in 1992.

He also stepped down from the board of Sheffield Airport Ltd six months before it was compulsorily wound up in 1993.

Mr Budge, who is chairman of the Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation, is scheduled to be discharged from bankruptcy on September 3, 2014.

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