Former ‘King Coal’ declared bankrupt

Richard Budge

Richard Budge

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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 a court order issued against him after a creditor’s petition.

The 66-year-old now faces a probe into any overseas assets that could be sold to pay off undisclosed debts, according to insolvency practitioners Mazars.

Paul Rouse, head of national creditor services at the accountancy firm, confirmed that his colleagues were appointed as joint bankruptcy trustees in the case.

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

Coalpower, through which he bought Hatfield Colliery in Doncaster, in 2001, collapsed in 2003.

In 2006 he formed Powerfuel with Russian firm KRU but that went into administration in 2010, having failed to raise the £30m needed to upgrade the mine.

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

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 Government aid. He stepped down a year later from the company – now UK Coal.

Mr Budge also stepped down from the board of Sheffield Airport Ltd before it was wound up in 1993.

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