Palmer bid after 'Yabulu deal failed'

CLIVE PALMER was ''perfectly upfront'' with directors of Gladstone Pacific Nickel when he negotiated to buy the Yabulu nickel refinery from BHP Billiton in 2009, the NSW Supreme Court heard yesterday.

Mr Palmer did not make an offer until BHP had terminated negotiations with Gladstone Pacific, and the board encouraged him in the hope of securing a management agreement for Yabulu if he succeeded, Gladstone Pacific's barrister, John Sheahan, SC, said.

Gladstone Pacific is opposing an application by a shareholder, Robert Pearce, for court approval to sue Mr Palmer in the company's name for alleged breaches of his director's duties.

Mr Pearce wants Mr Palmer, who owns 56 per cent of Gladstone Pacific, to share the benefits his private companies have obtained from a sharp turnaround in the profitability of the refinery near Townsville.

Mr Palmer joined the Gladstone Pacific board in April 2009, when he was considering providing financial support to Gladstone Pacific's bid for Yabulu.