Bumi director urges Rothschild to return his 16m bonus shares

WITH just over two weeks to go before Bumi’s boardroom battle on 21 February, senior independent non-executive director Julian Horn-Smith has called on co-founder Nat Rothschild to give up more than 16m bonus shares.

Rothschild was granted the shares when his acquisition vehicle Vallar bought Bumi assets in 2011.

“It is now clear that the deal and deal structure which Nat proposed and championed for Vallar has resulted in considerable losses for many shareholders,” Horn-Smith said in a statement.

“Following meetings with shareholders over the past few weeks there is growing pressure from them for Nat to return these shares,” he added.

“The board believes it is unjust that Nat should be able to continue to own and vote these shares which he received as the result of a flawed transaction. It is wrong for failure to be rewarded and this bonus should be clawed back.”

Rothschild responded: “These shares were awarded because I and my associates put up £20m in cash ahead of the IPO of Vallar; this £20m would have been lost, without any compensation to me, had we failed to execute the IPO.”

In a letter to shareholders yesterday, the financier urged them to “save Bumi” and vote for his radical board overhaul at the meeting in a little over two weeks’ time.