GO
Loading...

Bumi Chairman and Nat Rothschild Take Battle to Airwaves

Nathaniel Rothschild, founder of NR Investments and Samin Tan, chairman of Bumi PLC
Nathaniel Rothschild, founder of NR Investments and Samin Tan, chairman of Bumi PLC

The fight for control of London-listed Bumi heated up on Monday, with the company's Chairman Samin Tan and co-founder Nat Rothschild trading accusations.

Both sides took to the airwaves to make their case to shareholders ahead of a key extra-ordinary general meeting (EGM) on Feb 21.

Samin Tan, chairman of Bumi said the plan put forward by financier Nat Rothschild to revamp the board and remove 12 of the 14 directors would destroy value and lead to years of litigation.

"We should assume that if Nat wins this coming EGM, the discussion about the separation between Bakries and Bumi Plc will completely break down and as a result the Bakries will continue to be the shareholders of Bumi Plc," he told CNBC Europe's "Squawk Box".

"And what I can tell realistically is, it will be just months and months, if not years and years of litigation among various parties."

The split between the two shareholders, Nat Rothschild and the Bakrie family, has grown increasingly acrimonious after a series of high-profile disagreements at the London-listed miner since their union in 2010.

Tan, who joined the board and bought a stake from the Bakrie family said the Bakrie family was willing to separate from Bumi and hinted at a deal after the EGM.

"If this board wins the EGM, the relationship with Bakrie will be such that we can manage the Indonesian asset freely," he said.

"It's an extraordinary comment for the Chairman of a British public company to make," Rothschild responded in an interview on CNBC on Tuesday. "That seems to be the main thrust of his argument to win this EGM and it's wrong."

Rothschild has alleged that Samin Tan and the Bakrie family have a side deal that would disadvantage other shareholders.

"If there is no side deal between Samin Tan and the Bakrie family, why is the Bakrie family so interested in what happens after their exit from this company, " Rothschild said.

Tan told CNBC he was "not sure whether the term a side deal is the proper term to be used here. Yes, we do have our discussion, we are unraveling our partnership with Bakrie as well."

Tan said the Bakrie group would not sell its shares to another party. Instead it would return the shares to Bumi Plc and the shares would be canceled.

Bumi Plc, was created in 2011 when Indonesia's Bakrie Group folded its mining assets, including the country's largest thermal coal producer Bumi Resources into a financial vehicle, which was listed in London.

But the battle between Rothschild and the Bakries escalated in 2012 over allegations of financial irregularities at Bumi Resources.

Last week, Nat Rothschild accused Bumi Plc's current chief executive of embellishing his CV.

The CEO Nick von Schirnding denied the allegation and placed the blame for the company's woes firmly at Rothschild's door.