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
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor