Media hoax wipes $330 million off Whitehaven Coal

Australian Whitehaven Coal Ltd (ASX:WHC) shares went downhill Monday after a fake press release allegedly from the coal miner's major lender, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), claimed it had withdrawn from a $1.3 billion debt facility.

The hoax statement forced Nathan Tinkler's Whitehaven into a trading halt after $330 million (A$314m) was wiped off the coal miner's value.

Produced by activist group Front Line Action on Coal, the fake release drove the company’s shares down almost 9% to $3.21 shortly after midday.

As news of the hoax spread, the stock slowly gained ground and climbed back to $3.50, slightly down from the $3.52 before trading was halted.

In a statement Whitehaven said there was “no substance” to the misleading release and ANZ had also confirmed its untruthful nature.

The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group produced its own statement, saying it remained “fully supportive of Whitehaven Coal”.

Image: Vintage hoax of woman with huge ear of corn. © chippix