Rothschild signals intent to acquire Asian mining firm

Ravender Sembhy
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Nat Rothschild is said to be weighing up a bid for the Indonesian coal miner
NAT ROTHSCHILD is considering making a joint bid for distressed Indonesian coal miner Asia Resource Minerals (ARMS).

NR Holdings, a trust controlled by the British financier, and Russia’s Siberian Coal Energy Company (SUEK) are tipped to join forces and make a cash offer for the firm.

“NR Holdings and SUEK are considering a possible cash offer, to be made by a special purpose vehicle,” NR Holdings said in a statement issued after the London Stock Exchange closed yesterday.

The mooted deal comes less than a week after ARMS received notice of a possible £210m ($313m) bid from Asia Coal Ventures (ACE), a vehicle funded by Indonesia’s Sinarmas Group.

ACE’s potential bid risks scuppering a long-awaited restructuring of ARMS, which has been publicly backed by Rothschild, who co-founded the company with Indonesia’s wealthy Bakrie family in 2010.

Bitter boardroom battles and tumbling coal prices have slashed ARMS’s market value by over 90 per cent since then. At Monday’s close, the company was worth about £147.2m.

NR Holdings said the restructuring would give ARMS financial stability in the short and medium term. It urged investors to vote in favour of resolutions to be proposed at a shareholder meeting later this week to avoid a “likely” debt default later this year.

NR Holdings said: “Shareholders are urged to vote in favour of the resolutions and to take no action should ACE make an offer for the company.”

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