Rothschild warring with Bakries to preserve Bumi

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The Independent Online

Nat Rothschild is fighting to preserve Bumi as a London-listed, Indonesia-focused coal miner, through a proposal that attempts to derail the Bakrie family's attempt to buy the group's assets and leave it as cash shell.

The FTSE 250 miner said that Mr Rothschild, who co-founded the company with the Bakries in 2011 and retains a 12 per cent stake, had tabled an alternative proposal for Bumi.

This is understood to include replacing the Bakries, who own 23.8 per cent, and their associates with a new group of investors as well as the departure of chairman Samin Tan, who also has a 23.8 per cent stake.

Furthermore, Bumi would continue to be a London-listed coal miner with operations in Indonesia under the proposal, although the group would sell its 29 per cent stake in Bumi Resources, a Jakarta-listed company controlled by the Bakries. This would leave Bumi with an 85 per cent stake in Indonesia's Berau Coal Energy.

Bumi was created when the Bakries reversed some of their assets into Mr Rothschild's cash shell. Tensions have mounted since, leading to Mr Rothschild being ousted as co-chairman and to his resignation from the board. He is yet to finalise his replacement investors, although he is known to have held talks with Prabowo Subianto, a former Indonesian general who is now a key presidential candidate in Indonesia, and a series of other prominent business people in the country.

Last month the Bakries offered to buy Bumi's operating assets for $1.4bn (£875m), in a deal that would cancel their 23.8 per cent stake, leaving it as a listed cash shell. Bumi said it will not make a decision on the proposals before the conclusion of an investigation into allegations of "irregularities" at Bumi Resources.