Bitter dispute between Nathaniel Rothschild and the influential Indonesia Bakrie family erupts in a row over assets
Nathaniel Rothschild has resigned his position on the board of Bumi after accusing the chairman of the mining company of being ‘complicit’ in undervaluing minority investors. Rothschild owns around 12 percent of Bumi.
A row escalated after a deal was struck to inject Indonesian coal assets into a Rothschild London-listed shell company in 2011. Last year Rothschild called for a major clean up of the company’s finances. A bitter dispute ensued, culminating last week with the influential Indonesian Bakrie family, whose assets are tied up in Bumi, announcing a proposal to terminate their relationship with the company, through the purchase of the London group’s last stake in the company, a deal worth $278m.
Rothschild wrote in his resignation letter that to allow the Bakrie family out of the company in the midst of a clean up would be a “disgrace to proceed with, or even entertain, the proposal.”
“I am afraid that I have lost confidence in the ability of the plc board to stand up for investors.”
Chris Fong, a Bakrie spokesperson has said Rothschild’s resignation letter was “unfair, unreasonable and ridiculous.”
“We came to London in good faith. We offered our business to him. He did the due diligence. We were very transparent and we put our own money in. In the end the truth will be told,” Fong added.
Bumi announced last month a probe into ‘potential financial irregularities’ within the firm, a charge that Rothschild strongly denies.
Since the Bakrie’s offer last week, Bumi shares have plummeted almost 90 percent.