Bumi takes first steps towards separation from Bakrie Group

Suzie Neuwirth
TROUBLED miner Bumi yesterday took the next step in its separation from the Bakrie Group by agreeing to sell its stake in Jakarta-listed Bumi Resources to the Indonesian conglomerate for $501m (£329m).

The FTSE 250-listed firm, which has been embroiled in an arduous tug-of-war between its founder Nat Rothschild and the Bakrie family, said that “a substantial proportion” of the proceeds from the Bumi Resources divestment would be returned to shareholders.

In a second part of the deal, a subsidiary of the Bakrie Group will sell its stake in Bumi to outgoing chairman Samin Tan.

The sale would leave Tan with a 47 per cent stake in Bumi, which Rothschild objected to in a statement yesterday.

Meanwhile the first stage of Rothschild’s lawsuit against the company and his one-time partners began in London yesterday.

Rothschild argued in a petition that Bumi was run in a way that hurt, or “unfairly prejudiced” small investors. A claim of “unfair prejudice” is a key legal remedy under UK law available to investors left unable to block decisions.

Rothschild asked a court to scrap “relationship agreements” between the company and the Bakries, and to remove outgoing chairman Samin Tan and Alex Ramlie from the board.

A spokesman for Bumi said the court proceedings were “an unnecessary distraction and serve no useful purpose”.