Bumi agrees to Nat Rothschild board meeting

COAL miner Bumi yesterday agreed to a meeting to discuss Nat Rothschild’s plans for a board overhaul, although it added that the financier must take a “significant amount of responsibility” for the company’s situation.

Bumi co-founder Rothschild is seeking to remove 12 of the 14 current directors – including chief executive Nick Von Schirnding and senior independent director Sir Julian Horn-Smith, among others – and replace them with new directors, including himself. His proposal has the support of Schroders’ UK head of equities Richard Buxton.

Bumi yesterday defended its board, saying it had taken “extremely seriously” the findings of the Macfarlanes investigation, and that Bumi’s board structure had changed “materially” over the past few months.

“As a board we have been working extremely hard to solve the various highly complicated and challenging governance, operational and legal issues at the company and to maximise value for shareholders,” senior independent director Horn-Smith said yesterday.
The Bakrie family, who brought in Indonesian arm Bumi Resources, called Rothschild’s proposal “a distraction”, and again called for the financier to give up his 16m bonus shares.