Rothschild calls for full release of Bumi report

BUMI co-founder Nat Rothschild yesterday hit out at the board of the miner, and called for full disclosure of the Macfarlanes report.

Beleaguered coal miner Bumi commissioned City law firm Macfarlanes to carry out the legal review into its Indonesian operations in September, following alleged financial irregularities at Bumi Resources.

The billionaire financier yesterday wrote to the FTSE 250 coal miner to express a lack of confidence in the investigation. He said that leaks from the investigation “appear designed to generate spurious embarrassment” for both Rothschild and his investment vehicle NR Investments.

He said in a statement last night that he had written to Sir Julian Horn-Smith, senior independent director at Bumi, to demand an independent legal investigation to “review expeditiously all relevant matters” concerning the Macfarlanes investigation and report.

“This will provide minority shareholders with the information and confidence in Macfarlanes’ findings they need in order to make informed decisions at the forthcoming general meeting of Bumi,” he said.

Last week, Rothschild demanded that Bumi hold a general meeting to push through his proposal for a board overhaul. He is seeking to remove 12 of the current 14 directors – including the chief executive and chairman – and replace them with new directors including himself, a notion that has gained support from several large institutional investors. The meeting is expected to take place around 24 February.

Broking house Liberum Capital yesterday said that it judged the Bumi board’s current proposal – to divorce itself from co-founder the Bakrie family and Bumi Resources – “the only workable solution”.

A Bumi spokesperson had no initial comment last night.