The Straits Times
Published on Nov 02, 2012

Rothschild in talks to counter Bakrie break-up plan


LONDON (REUTERS) - Financier Nat Rothschild is in talks with Indonesian investors, including a contender for the country's presidency, on a plan to counter a US$1.4 billion (S$1.71 billion) Bumi buyout proposal from the influential Bakrie family, sources said.

Mr Rothschild set up Bumi with the Bakries two years ago, when the politically connected family injected Indonesian coal assets into a London investment shell created by the financier. Their ties have since soured, however, sparking confrontations over corporate governance and management while coal prices tumble and shares slump.

Tensions culminated last month when the Bakries announced plans to unwind the venture and Mr Rothschild resigned from Bumi's board.

Sources with direct knowledge of the matter said Mr Rothschild was now in discussions with various partners, including former general and current presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto, to thwart the Bakrie aim of regaining full control of their thermal coal empire and dismantling London-listed Bumi.