By Alex MacDonald
NEW YORK--European financier Nathaniel Rothschild said Thursday that a consortium led by him is prepared to inject $270 million into U.K.-listed Indonesian coal miner Bumi PLC (BUMI.LN) in order to flush out all ties between the Bumi's board and the powerful Indonesian Bakrie family.
Bumi PLC has received two proposals so far aimed at extricating the embattled London-listed miner from an acrimonious relationship with the Bakrie family, which owns a 23.8% stake in the Indonesian company. The company's shares have plummeted due to a boardroom rift over corporate governance issues and an independent probe into financial irregularities at its Indonesian coal assets.
The Bakrie family has proposed severing its ties with Bumi PLC by offering $1.2 billion to buy back Bumi's Indonesian coal assets and in the process exit its 23.8% stake in Bumi PLC. The deal would involve buying back Bumi's 29% stake in Indonesia's largest coal producer Bumi Resources (BUMI.JK) and Bumi's 85% stake in Indonesian coal miner Berau Coal Energy (BRAU.JK) for about $278 million and $950 million respectively in three separate transactions.
Mr. Rothschild, a major shareholder and Bumi co-founder, reacted to this proposal by resigning from Bumi's board, citing concerns that minority shareholders weren't being protected given Chairman Samin Tan's ties with the Bakrie family.
Mr. Rothschild instead suggested an alternative proposal in which Bumi would accept the part of the Bakries' proposal which involved buying back Bumi's 29% stake in Bumi Resources in exchange for $278 million in cash plus the Bakrie family's exit from its Bumi PLC stake. Mr. Rothschild, through the NR Investment-led consortium would then inject more cash into Bumi PLC to buy out Mr. Tan and another large Indonesian shareholder, Rosan Perkasa Roeslani, from Bumi's board by offering compensation for their shares.
Mr. Roeslani and Mr. Tan own shares in Bumi through investment fund Recapital Advisors and Indonesian coking coal company Borneo Lumbung Energi & Metal (BORN.JK) respectively. Recapital owns a 13% stake in Bumi, while Borneo owns 23.8%. Borneo holds its shares in tandem with the Bakrie Group, a conglomerate owned by the Bakrie family, through two special-purpose vehicles.
"NR Investments believes that the interrelated interests of Mr. Tan and the Bakries amount to a concert party in respect of Bumi PLC. Together with other investors, NR Investments has committed to injecting $270 million into Bumi PLC to clear out these parties," Mr. Rothschild said in a statement.
Mining tycoon Robert Friedland has agreed to be part of a the Rothschild-led consortium, two people familiar with the matter said. Mr. Friedland, who was responsible for discovering and developing several major mining projects including the massive Oyu Tolgoi gold and copper project in Mongolia, has agreed to commit $50 million to the consortium, according to one of the two people.
Hashim Djojohadikusumo, the brother of Indonesian presidential front-runner and general-turned-businessman Prabowo Subianto, has also agreed to invest $50 million in the consortium. Mr. Subianto is running against the Bakrie Group's patriarch, Aburizal Bakrie, who heads Indonesia's Golkar Party and is also a contender in the 2014 presidential elections. Mr. Djojohadikusumo is worth more than $700 million, according to the most recent Forbes survey.
Mr. Friedland and a spokesman for Mr. Rothschild declined to comment on the matter.
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