Bumi showdown set for a climax as shareholders vote

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The Independent Online

The greatest corporate showdown in recent times is set to reach a climax today as financier Nat Rothschild seeks to oust almost all the board of Bumi, the Indonesian coal miner he co-founded.

After months of escalating tension between Mr Rothschild and his Bumi co-founders, Indonesia's Bakrie brothers, shareholders will arbitrate tomorrow in a vote to be held at the City headquarters of the Honourable Artillery Company.

At a specially convened meeting, they will be asked to vote on Mr Rothschild's proposal to force out 12 of Bumi's 14-person board and replace them with a team he has handpicked, including him as a director.

The result is set to be a close call and will have a significant bearing on the future of the company, which has lost about two-thirds of its value since it was floated in November 2010.

Bumi was created when the Bakrie brothers reversed some of their coal assets into Mr Rothschild's cash shell. The co-founders quickly fell out and have been at loggerheads ever since in a dispute centring on corporate governance and which has seen Mr Rothschild ousted as co-chairman and later resigning from the board altogether.

Mr Rothschild is keen to return to a newly constructed board, which, he says, is necessary to correct alleged financial irregularities in companies in which Bumi owns a stake.