Rothschild calls again for new board at Bumi

THE BUMI soap opera over who will control the coal miner continued yesterday as co-founder Nat Rothschild questioned the independence of a new director of Indonesian subsidiary Berau Coal, repeating his call for a new board at the London-listed miner.

Bumi has appointed Eko Budianto as a replacement to Rosan Roseslani, and has also appointed Tony Redman as technical adviser to Berau, in which it has an 85 per cent shareholding.

“We appointed Tony Redman, a former head of Anglo Coal, as technical adviser and Eko Budianto as president director to strengthen operational management at Berau,” Bumi said last night.

But Rothschild said earlier in the day that Budianto was not truly independent. Instead, the banking scion wants to appoint Brock Gill as chief exec of the coal miner, and veteran Australian miner Wallace King as chairman.

Earlier this month, the financier demanded a general meeting to discuss plans for a board overhaul, which includes ousting 12 out of 14 current directors. Yet the two directors that escaped his proposed cull – Steven Shapiro and Graham Hearne – have said they do not support his plans.

Rothschild’s plan for the future of the FTSE 250 miner has support from four Bumi shareholders so far: Schroders’ Richard Buxton, John Duffield at Brompton Asset Management, Sofaer Capital and Taube Hodson Stonex.

Bumi is expected to distribute a circular to shareholders this morning detailing when the general meeting will be held. It is expected to be held around the last week of February.