Bumi board to unveil radical shakeup ahead of crunch vote

Michael Bow
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THE MANAGEMENT of troubled Indonesian miner Bumi is set to unveil a drastic overhaul of its senior leadership today in a bid to shore up support ahead of a key shareholder vote on the future of the business next month.

Bumi, led by chief executive Nick von Schirnding, will propose downsizing the current board from 14 members to eight and ditching the Bumi name to distance the firm from the wranglings of the past, a person familiar with the matter said.

The new listed entity, which has a working title Asia Coal PLC, will still control 85 per cent of Berau Coal, the operational arm of the venture. A new chief executive will be appointed at Berau. Von Schirnding will also unveil plans to ramp up production of coal from 22m tonnes a year to 30m tonnes, as part of the organisation’s development.

Bumi shareholders are set to vote on rival plans put forward by major shareholder Nat Rothschild, who wants to replace 12 of the 14 current members of the board, when the owners of the company meet at an emergency meeting, scheduled for 21 February.

Rothschild’s vehicle NRI said on Saturday it had reported two hedge fund investors in Bumi, Route One and Orchard Capital, to the UK’s Takeover Panel for allegedly breaching concert party rules.

“Both Orchard Capital and Route One are invested in or affiliated with companies that have exposure to the Bakries margin loans,” the NRI statement said.

Neither firm could be reached for comment yesterday.