Rothschild counter-offer on table at Bumi

The soap opera continues at Indonesian mining group Bumi, with former company director and joint founder of the group, Nat Rothschild, delivering a counter-offer to the one Bumi is currently considering from major shareholders, the Bakrie Group.

The soap opera continues at Indonesian mining group Bumi, with former company director and joint founder of the group, Nat Rothschild, delivering a counter-offer to the one Bumi is currently considering from major shareholders, the Bakrie Group.

Bumi confirmed that it has received a proposal from NR Investments, an investment company controlled by Nathanial Rothschild, that would offer the group an alternative to the proposals submitted on October 11th by PT Bakrie and Brothers Tbk and Long Haul Holdings Limited, collectively known as the Bakrie Group.

The announcement came after much speculation that Rothschild, who resigned from the Bumi board on October 16th after he lost confidence in the management's ability to stand up for investors, was plotting a counter-bid to the Bakries, with the backing of a number of influential Indonesian partners.

Bumi is sticking with its plan to take its time over the evaluation of its options, in which process it will be advised by Rothschild Group, the finance house chaired by Baron David de Rothschild, a relative of Nathaniel Rothschild.

The situation is complicated by the fact that the company is holding an internal investigation into allegations concerning potential financial and other irregularities in the company's Indonesian operations, especially in relation to PT Bumi Resources Tbk, in which the company has a 29% stake. The board has said it will not make any decision on the options open to it until this investigation is "appropriately advanced".

Meanwhile, the board has decided that it is no longer appropriate for it to treat PT Bumi Resources as an associate company for accounting purposes, and it will, in future, be treated as an investment. The decision reflects the board's assessment of its level of influence over the management and conduct of PT Bumi Resources following recent developments.

The upshot of this decision is that there will be a non-cash charge in the 2012 income statement of Bumi.

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