Bumi hit by another exit as Takeover Panel seeks answers

The soap opera continued at Bumi yesterday after yet another board member was forced to resign from the conflict-riven Indonesian coal miner created by Nat Rothschild and the Bakrie family in November 2010.

In a day of action, the Takeover Panel ruled that there was improper disclosure about the close relationship between two key shareholders – the Bakrie brothers and Rosan Roeslani – when the group was created by injecting the Bakries' Indonesian coal-mining assets into Mr Rothschild's listed cash shell.

The Panel ruled yesterday that the two groups had acted "in concert" – and cut the voting power of their combined 57 per cent stake almost in half, to 29.9 per cent.

It has also kicked off an investigation into why details of their close relationship were not disclosed at the time, prompting Mr Roeslani to resign as a non-executive director of the Bumi board yesterday.

Mr Roeslani will continue to run PT Berau Coal Energy, the Indonesian coal miner in which Bumi owns an 84.7 per cent stake.

In watering down the voting power of the Bakries and Mr Roeslani, the Panel in effect increases the influence of Mr Rothschild, pictured, who owns 12 per cent of Bumi.

However, the future of the company remains highly uncertain amid allegations of financial irregularities at Berau and Bumi's other main subsidiary, Bumi Resources, which Bumi is investigating.

Mr Rothschild and the Bakries have put forward competing visions for the group, both of which the board has rejected. It is instead proposing a deal that would sever all ties between Bumi and the Bakries, offload Bumi Resources and leave the group focused on Berau. The board will put this to shareholders as soon as it can next year.

Mr Rothschild stepped down from the board in October because he had lost confidence in the top table. The chief executive, Ari Hudaya, resigned last September, following Bumi's announcement that it had commissioned the investigation. Earlier this month the co-chairman, Indra Bakrie, and Mr Hudaya's replacement as chief executive, Nalin Rathod, also resigned.

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