Bumi battle hinges on key investor

 
Michael Bow
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THE CITY takeover watchdog could decide the fate of troubled coalmin- er Bumi as soon as tomorrow after a key stakeholder moved to offload a decisive voting bloc in the company.

´┐╝Former Bumi non-executive direc- tor Rosan Roeslani, who owns 13 per cent of the company through his firm Bukit Mutiara, is thought to be exploring plans to sell the stake to two new investors, who may become eligible to vote at a crunch ballot of shareholders this week.

The emergency meeting, set for Thursday, will be used to vote on plans by Bumi co-founder Nat Rothschild to remove 12 of the 14 directors on the Bumi board.

If Roeslani sells his stake, the Takeover Panel must decide before a shareholder registration deadline tomorrow if the new investors are independent and have a free hand to vote their shares – which could tip the balance against Rothschild’s proposals.

It is not known how the potential investors, who are currently anony- mous, will vote if the stake is sold.

The Takeover Panel, headed by for- mer UBS banker Robert Gillespie, previously ruled Bukit Mutiara was a so-called concert party – another term for a voting ally – of sharehold- ers the Bakrie Group. This ruling reduced the voting power of their shareholding bloc at the meeting to 29.9 per cent.