James Moore: Bumi's a sorry mess but Rothschild fights again

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The Independent Online

Outlook The defeat at Bumi probably represents Nat Rothschild's Gettysburg moment. The American Civil War did not end following that actually rather indecisive battle, but the writing was on the wall.

The same is true for the financier's attempt to take back control of the company he founded. Mr Rothschild will fight on. But with City institutions falling in with the existing board his chances of success are slim.

Now that board has to deliver on a plan to bring a resolution to the battle with Indonesia's Bakrie family, whose reversal of some of their apparently attractive coal-mining assets into what was a cash shell set up by Mr Rothschild created this sorry mess.

The way the whole thing went bad in a matter of weeks, amid claims of misdeeds and misappropriated funds, has added fresh bruises to London's battered reputation, and raised alarm bells about the risks associated with Indonesia, a market which had been a hot tip among investors.

Which is a shame. London can probably live with the fallout. But there are pockets of truly dreadful poverty in Indonesia, and this struggle between competing oligarchs could end up hurting those who live in them more than anyone if those investors steer clear.

Oh, and by the way, Mr Rothschild is talking about setting up a new fund.