Nat Rothschild vows to fight on after losing Bumi battle

Financier also promises more cash shell ventures despite troubles with mining

Nat Rothschild was defiant last night after losing his bid to overhaul Bumi, the Indonesian coal miner he co-founded, vowing to continue his fight to shake up the beleaguered company and indicating plans to create similar ventures in the future.

Mr Rothschild's attempt to oust 12 of Bumi's 14 board members was largely defeated at an extraordinary general meeting, with shareholders agreeing to remove just two senior directors – Nalinkant Rathod and Jean-Marc Mizrahi. He also succeeded in installing Sir Richard Gozney, a former British ambassador to Indonesia, on the board.

Mr Rothschild, who has a 13 per cent voting stake in Bumi, put on a brave face, declaring the result "an important moment in Bumi's history… A substantial majority of non-aligned shareholders have voted overwhelmingly for our proposals." Mr Rothschild's unsuccessful resolutions were typically defeated by a vote of about 56 per cent in favour and 43 per cent against, with a tiny proportion of abstentions. However, the resolution to put Mr Rothschild on the board was defeated by 63.11 per cent to 36.89 per cent.

Mr Rothschild pledged to remain a major shareholder of Bumi and to fight for the rights of the minority shareholders.

Bumi was created in November 2010, when Indonesia's Bakrie brothers reversed some of their coalmining assets into Mr Rothschild's London-listed cash shell. However, the co-founders quickly fell out amid allegations of financial irregularities at the two Bakrie businesses in which Bumi owns a stake – Bumi Resources and Berau Coal – where $1bn (£650m) is unaccounted for.

The Bakrie brothers welcomed the outcome of the vote, which they said paved the way for the board to proceed with a plan that would involve them exiting the business in a deal where they took the 29 per cent stake in Bumi Resources and leaving Bumi with the 85 per cent holding in Berau Coal.

The Bumi board and the Bakrie Group said they would now proceed with the separation plan as quickly as possible. Chris Fong, vice president of the Bakrie Group, said: "We hope he [Rothschild] now joins our own move to restore value at Bumi by supporting our proposal."

The Bumi board reiterated its pledge to find a new independent chairman to replace Samin Tan, who has close ties to the Bakries.

Shares in Bumi, which floated at £10 in 2010, rose 3 per cent to 391.3p.

Mr Rothschild said he did not regret creating the company, saying: "You must not regret the past or wish to shut the door on it." Furthermore, he held out the very real prospect he would seek to set up another business along similar lines to Bumi in the future.

Mr Rothschild has already repeated the Bumi model once, creating the Kurdistan-focused oil producer Genel Energy run by former BP chief executive Tony Hayward by reversing a Turkish company into a London-listed cash shell he set up. That venture has lost about a quarter of its value since it was created in 2011.

Asked if he was considering launching a third cash shell, Mr Rothschild replied: "not at the moment". But might he in the future? "Definitely… A lot of investors applaud the approach we've taken. Broadly speaking, there's a huge amount of support for what we've done."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Content Writer - Global Financial Services

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: From modest beginnings the comp...

Recruitment Genius: Field Sales Consultant - Financial Services - OTE £65,000

£15000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Loan Underwriter

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory