Bloomberg News

Macquarie Wins A$95 Million Tax Dispute Over Minara Sale

September 25, 2011

(Updates with detail on the ruling in the second paragraph.)

Sept. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Macquarie Bank Ltd., a unit of Australia’s biggest investment bank, won a A$95 million ($93 million) dispute with the Australian Tax Office over the 2004 sale of a stake in nickel producer Minara Resources Ltd.

Federal Court Justice Richard Edmonds in Sydney today dismissed the tax office’s claim that Macquarie used a tax avoidance scheme when it engineered the sale of 165.5 million shares held by MatlinPatterson Global Opportunities Partners LP at A$2.90 each.

The unit of the Sydney-based Macquarie Group Ltd. claimed at a hearing in June that the government was attempting to assess taxes against it on profit made by MatlinPatterson.

John Hurst, an outside spokesman for Macquarie, declined to comment on the ruling.

MatlinPatterson, which was Minara’s second-biggest shareholder, bought a 35.9 percent stake in 2003 in the mining company as part of an attempt to take it over, according to court documents. Macquarie arranged a “bought deal” in February 2004 for the MatlinPatterson shares, purchasing them for A$2.65 each and selling them on to institutions for A$2.90, earning A$41.4 million on which the bank paid A$12 million in taxes, according to the court papers.

The case is Macquarie Bank Ltd. v. Commissioner of Taxation. NSD105/2010. Federal Court of Australia (Sydney).

--Editors: Suresh Seshadri, Iain Wilson

To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Schneider in Sydney at jschneider5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Douglas Wong at dwong19@bloomberg.net


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