Market fears the worst as Bumi delays results

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The Independent Online

Shares in the controversial Indonesian coal miner Bumi were hit as the company shocked investors by delaying its annual results announcement by a month.

Bumi blamed a change of management at its 85 per cent owned coal mining subsidiary Berau Coal for the delay, due to the need for a "thorough review" of all balance sheet items. It said the results, which had been due for release tomorrow, would now be published on 24 April, sending the shares down 25.4p or 7.6 per cent to 308.1p.

Bumi appointed new management, led by its president, Eko Budianto, to carry out the review at Berau ahead of the group's planned separation from Indonesia's powerful Bakrie family. Under the proposed deal Bumi will keep the stake in Berau but sell its 29 per cent stake in the thermal coal miner Bumi Resources to the Bakries.

"In light of this work by the incoming Berau management, additional time is needed to finalise the year-end accounts of Berau," the company said.

Bumi, the brainchild of the financier Nat Rothschild, was created in November 2010 when the Bakrie brothers merged some of their coal mining business into Mr Rothschild's London-listed operation.

But the co-founders quickly fell out amid allegations of financial irregularities at Bumi Resources and Berau Coal – centring on about $1bn (£650m) of missing assets at the two businesses and drawing in the Takeover Panel, the Serious Fraud Office and the Indonesian authorities.

Mr Rothschild – whose reputation in the City has been dealt a blow over the saga – launched an attempt to remove 12 of Bumi's 14 directors but his proposals were thrown out at a fractious shareholder meeting in February.

The bitter feud with Bumi's co-founders failed to dampen the coal miner's performance as it met 2012 production targets and cut quarterly costs. The company mined 15 per cent more coal in the final three months of last year, helping it hit a full-year production target of 21 million tonnes. It also cut production costs by 19 per cent to $36.10 a tonne, and its chief executive, Nick von Schirnding, said Bumi would "continue to relentlessly cut costs across the group".