Bumi leadership war heats up as crucial meeting gets closer

THE BOARD of Bumi yesterday said it was confident it can retain control of the troubled coal miner at the general meeting next month.

It is understood that chief executive Nick Von Schirnding has spoken to many of Bumi’s top shareholders, and as a result is confident of a victory over Bumi co-founder Nat Rothschild when they go head to head at next month’s general meeting.

However, Bumi has not yet gained any public support from shareholders, whereas Rothschild has secured the support of four named shareholders.

Financier Rothschild called for a general meeting earlier this month to overhaul the board – including the ousting of chief executive Von Schirnding and chairman Samin Tan – and put himself back at the head of the company.

Wallace King, proposed by Nat Rothschild as the new Bumi chairman, said in an interview: “We met with a number of investors in London. They can see the issues. They want to go forward on a positive basis. In pretty much all of the interviews I’d say the body language was quite positive.”

So far, Rothschild has won support from Schroders’ Richard Buxton, Taube Hodson Stonex, John Duffield at Brompton Asset Management and Sofaer Capital for his proposal.

The general meeting – the exact date of which is expected to be confirmed next week – will decide who will lead the coal miner going forward.