Shareholders in miner Bumi back split with Bakrie clan

Tue Dec 17, 2013 11:16am EST
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By Clara Ferreira-Marques

LONDON (Reuters) - Shareholders in Indonesia-focused coal miner Bumi Plc BUMIP.L have backed a planned split with the influential Bakrie family that co-founded the company, an important step towards a long-awaited overhaul of the group.

The divorce plan was widely expected to be approved at a shareholder meeting on Tuesday, after co-founder and major investor Nat Rothschild struck a last-minute peace deal with management last week and lent his support.

Bumi was founded in 2010 by the Bakries and Rothschild, with the aim of bringing promising Indonesian coal assets to London investors. But their relationship quickly soured.

Investors hope the split will revive a business battered by boardroom rows, allegations of wrongdoing and weak coal prices. Its focus will now be on Asian growth markets.

The Bakrie family will sell its stake in Bumi Plc to outgoing chairman and one-time partner Samin Tan - who in turn becomes the single largest shareholder, with a 47.6 percent stake.

The Bakries will use income from that sale and additional cash to then buy back a 29 percent stake in debt-laden Indonesian miner PT Bumi Resources (BUMI.JK: Quote), shares which are currently held by Bumi Plc.

The Bakrie exit and Bumi Resources sale will allow London-listed Bumi Plc - renamed Asia Resource Minerals - to focus its turnaround efforts on its other main Indonesian subsidiary, Berau coal (BRAU.JK: Quote), in which it owns an 85 percent stake.

If the split completes successfully, Bumi plans to hand back at least $400 million to shareholders.   Continued...

British-born financier Nat Rothschild leaves after a Bumi shareholder meeting in London February 21, 2013. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth