Nat Rothschild set for showdown with Samin Tan as Bumi chairman raises stake in beleaguered business

 

Associate Business Editor

A "furious" Nat Rothschild is set for a showdown with Samin Tan after the chairman of miner Bumi agreed to raise his stake in the beleaguered business to nearly 50 per cent.

Just 24 hours after it was confirmed that Mr Tan was even looking to top up his Bumi stock through snapping up a 23.8 per cent stake from Indonesia's powerful Bakrie family, his Pt Borneo Lumbung vehicle announced today that the terms had been signed-off. The purchase is worth nearly £150m, which the Bakries intend to use towards buying back Bumi's stake in one of their own businesses.

A source close to the scion of the banking dynasty said he was still fuming over a deal which he argues is detrimental to shareholders. Mr Rothschild still holds a 15 per cent stake in Bumi and is expected to use the shares to try to vote down the deal.

Mr Rothschild, who harbours ambitions of wresting back control of a company he helped put together in 2010, attacked the deal earlier this week, warning it "consolidates" Mr Tan's control of the group. The deal is a key step in the Bakries cutting ties with Bumi and sorting out what has long been considered a strange and complicated ownership structure.

In a statement, PT Borneo said that it "will endeavor to restore stability in Bumi Plc so as to allow its management to refocus on activities that create value for all stakeholders". Bumi has been ravaged by scandal, including a $201m (£133m) black-hole that was discovered in a key business unit earlier this year. Bumi found there was $201m of unaccounted expenditure in the division. Rosan Roeslani has made no admission of wrongdoing and does not accept liability for the financial problems, but has agreed to transfer assets to Bumi on condition that any potential claims against him are waived.

Shares in Bumi have been suspended since April and the separation from the Bakries has been considered vital to restoring the group's fortunes. However, the deal will need a waiver from regulatory authorities and shareholders so that Mr Tan does not have to  make an offer for the whole company - under takeover rules, the doubling of his stake would take him through the threshold where he would be required to do so.

The board of Bumi noted PT Borneo's statement and added that the company was "not party to discussions between its shareholders".

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