So, in a series of RNS announcements today, the acrimony surrounding the Bumi venture just seems to worsen… In a move which actually plays into the hands of Rothschild and Bumi Plcs minorities, the ruling that now restricts the voting power of coal miner Bumi’s Indonesian shareholders to 29.9% and per the excerpt from the RNS below, actually forces them to sell stock and so just cements stage 1 of the unwind proposal. The swapping of the Bakries 23.8 percent stake in London-listed Bumi for 10.3 percent of Bumi Resources will of course appease the Takeover Panel.
Excerpt – In the circumstances, the Panel Executive has further ruled that the aggregate voting interests of the Bakrie Group and Bukit Mutiara, and any persons acting in concert with either of them, must be reduced to less than 30% of the voting rights in Bumi by way of the disposal of a sufficient number of shares in Bumi. In addition, pending this disposal, and in accordance with Rule 9.7 of the Code, the Panel Executive has ruled that the aggregate number of voting rights that may be exercised at any general meeting of Bumi by the Bakrie Group and Bukit Mutiara, and any persons acting in concert with either of them, must not exceed 29.9% of all of the voting rights exercisable at any such meeting.
The Takeover Panel, which oversees mergers and acquisitions, has also begun a probe into the details of the 2010 deal that created Bumi, one of the world’s largest thermal coal miners. In particular, it wants to know why the relationship between the Indonesian founding shareholders – now deemed to be acting together – was not disclosed at the time.
In its statement on Wednesday, the Panel said Indonesia’s influential Bakrie family, who created Bumi with financier Nat Rothschild, had acted “in concert” with another Indonesian shareholder, Rosan Roeslani.
In response, the Bakries said in a (badly worded) statement they had now made a formal complaint against Rothschild, blaming him for the failure to disclose the relationship! Rothschild said in an e-mailed statement he would continue to pursue talks with the Bakrie Group, Borneo Lumbung and Bukit Mutiara to seek “a consensual solution that will be in the interest of all Bumi Plc shareholders.”
SBM’s take – In order to wrest Berau Coal from Bumi Plc the Bakries very simply have to find some more cash to make the deal palatable to the Board or simply table an offer for the entire company as we have said all along. More intrigungly perhaps they could find a new “friendly” investor like Glencore to bid for Berau…? Either way, the RNS today are, in our opinion, good news for the minority shareholders.