Published On: Tue, Dec 17th, 2013

Nat Rothschild Makes Peace With Bumi plc At Special General Meeting Held Today


Nathaniel Rothschild/ Getty

Note: This is an update to the Jewish Business News Story of three days ago, December 14th, 2013 [link].

London Stock Exchange listed Indonesian coal mining company Bumi plc duly held its much awaited special general meeting of shareholders this morning, and all resolutions put to it were passed by large majorities of the company’s independent shareholders.

Consequently, shares in the company will shortly commence trading under a brand new name Asia Resource Minerals plc, complete with a new stock symbol on the London Stock Exchange: ARMS.

After all the warring factions had come together bearing gifts of peace the man in the middle, Bumi Chief Executive, Nick von Schirnding, who has endured some very uncomfortable months recently was quite happy to say:

“Bringing all parties together and creating a transaction that shareholders can unite behind has been a long and difficult process and I would like to thank our shareholders for their support. Today’s vote allows us to focus on creating additional value for our shareholders through concentrating our efforts on Berau, a 23 million tonne thermal coal operation. Our vision is to become a leading UK-listed coal company, with a focus on the growth markets of Asia.”

“We currently look forward to the completion of the Separation in late January. Assuming a successful outcome, our priorities will then be to return at least US$400m to shareholders, refresh the board, which will include the appointment of a new, independent chairman, and continue with our plans for profitable growth through cutting costs and optimising production.”

So essentially the Bumi plc side of the new arrangements has now been duly provided for in constitutional terms. The acid test will now come in January when the Bakrie family has to “separate” from involvement with the company under the terms of the separation agreement they have made with the company.

To do so they must first come up with US$501 million in cash to buy one of the Bumi plc assets, namely its 29% interest in Bumi Resources PT. Then at the same time they will sell their own interest in Bumi plc, which is now of course renamed Asia Resource Minerals plc, to Samin Tan the current Chairman of the Board for US$223 million. The net incremental cost for the Bakries to complete the separation is therefore US$278 million.

Once this goes ahead Asia Resource Minerals will itself subsequently declare a US$400 million to its remaining shareholders, and life will then go on.

For his part Nathaniel Rothschild will have the right to nominate his own independent director to the board of the company.

It really does not bear thinking about if the Bakrie family should not now go through with the closing of the separation transaction in January, but at this point we can simply mark progress on the waypoint to that destination.

Assuming that goes ahead as planned then the only outstanding item left in the whole sorry business will be the company’s arbitration proceedings now being held against Mr. Rosan Roeslani, in relation to US$173 million of funds that, it is claimed, have not been fully accounted for.

A problem for Asia Resource Minerals may be that the arbitration proceeding over this issue is being held in Singapore, and even a positive judgment there may not be enforceable in a court in Indonesia where Mr. Roeslani resides. Still, one step at a time they say, though one might conclude that this sum could end up being written off as the final “loose end” in bringing about a new beginning for the company. An expensive loose end to be sure.

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