Rothschild's Bumi proposal rejected amid investigation

A proposal from Nathaniel Rothschild regarding the fate of Bumi Plc's coal assets has been rejected following insufficient backing from stakeholders.

A proposal from Nathaniel Rothschild regarding the fate of Bumi Plc's coal assets has been rejected following insufficient backing from stakeholders.

The founder of Bumi Plc recommended PT Borneo Lumbung and PT Bukit Mutiara sell their holdings in the London-listed group.

However PT Borneo Lumbung, owner of 23.8%, and PT Bukit Mutiara, 9.8%, turned down the offer on Wednesday.

The news comes amid an ongoing acrimonious dispute between Rothschild and Indonesia's Bakrie Group.

The two started Bumi together in 2010 in a $3bn deal that merged stakes in the Indonesian investor's coal companies into cash shell, Vallar.

The company infighting between Rothschild, who owns 12% of Bumi Plc voting stock, and Co-Chairman Indra Bakrie have led the two to resign from the board.

Now the UK Takeover Panel, which oversees mergers and acquisitions, has ruled the Bakrie Group and Bukit Mutiara should have been regarded as a "concert party" in the 2010 deal.

The corporate takeover regulator said it was investigating into why it was not made aware of their close relationship.

The UK's takeover code states investors owning 30% or more of a company must make an offer for the whole.

The Bakrie Group and Bukit Mutiara, a company associated with businessman Rosan Roeslani, together control 50.3% of the voting rights in Bumi Plc.

The regulator has ordered that the voting rights of the Bakries and Roeslani be reduced to 29.9% despite them owning considerably more of the shares than that.

The ruling has led to yet another head rolling as Roeslani announced his resignation from the board.

Following the resignations of Roeslani, Rothschild, Bakrie and former Chief Executive Ari Hudaya - who represented the founder shareholders in the company - the board of Bumi will be composed of a substantial majority of independent directors.

Nalin Rathod, a Bakrie Group nominee, has also informed the company that he will resign from the board as a non-executive director after the completion of the transaction to separate the company from Bumi Resources.

Nick von Schirnding, who is independent from all founder shareholders, becomes CEO in the New Year.

As the tit-for-tat continues, the Bakries said on Wednesday they had lodged a complaint with the panel regarding "the conduct of Rothschild during the original takeover".

The Bakrie family has proposed swapping their stake in Bumi for a stake of equivalent value in Bumi Resources, thus ending the relationship between Bumi and themselves.

The Bakrie Group has offered $1.2bn to acquire a 29% stake in PT Bumi Resources and an 85% interest in PT Berau Coal Energy.

The plan has only partial backing, according to Bumi Senior Independent Non-Executive Director Julian Horn-Smith.

RD

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