Bumi Plc chairman hints he could step down soon

Sun Jan 13, 2013 3:43pm EST
 
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By Clara Ferreira-Marques

LONDON (Reuters) - Indonesian coal tycoon Samin Tan suggested on Sunday that he could step down as chairman of London-listed miner Bumi Plc BUMIP.L once the company had resolved a "critical period" of tension between major shareholders.

Bumi Plc, one of the world's largest thermal coal exporters, was created by financier Nat Rothschild and Indonesia's influential Bakrie family to bring promising Indonesian mining assets to London investors.

But after two years of shareholder infighting and tumbling shares, the company faces a bitter battle over its future.

Tan came in as an investor last January, when he pulled the Bakrie family from the brink of default with a $1 billion investment, only to see the value of that bet crumble. Together with the Bakries, he owns 29.9 percent of voting rights in Bumi.

He was appointed chairman in March, but, along with most current directors, Tan has been accused by Rothschild of failing to adequately defend the interests of minority investors.

"Both the board and I see the need for the chairman to stay on through this critical period; however, I do not intend to stay as chairman any longer than the company needs me to," he said in emailed comments.

A departure, however, is not imminent. "The board and I believe that I have to lead Bumi through this period on behalf of the shareholders who have lost so much through the poor behavior of others," he said.

Tan did not specify the "critical period" in question.   Continued...

 
Samin Tan, an Indonesian major shareholder of Bumi Plc and Borneo Lumbung Energy and Metal speaks during an interview in Jakarta February 7, 2012. REUTERS/Enny Nuraheni