Rothschild's firm repeats request to oust Bumi board members

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LONDON (ShareCast) - Nathaniel Rothschild's company NR Investments said Bumi plc (Other OTC: VLLRF - news) faced a 'humiliating setback' after shareholders threw out his proposal to oust members of the board.

The co-founder of the Indonesian coal miner lost his bid to replace 12 of 14 members of the board at a highly anticipated meeting Thursday.

Shareholders voted against 19 of the financier's 22 resolutions, including one that would have seen him return to the board. He unexpectedly stepped down last year following company infighting.

"Yesterday, we asked for Bumi to deliver meaningful change at the company. It would appear that this request has fallen on deaf ears," NR Investments said in a statement Friday.

Chairman Samin Tan survived a vote to remove him but announced he was resigning anyway.

Bumi said it would replace Tan with a new independent Chairman who has experience in the London market.

Nalinkant Rathod, a representative of the Bakries, and Jean-Marc Mizrahi, also left the board while Richard Gozney, a former British ambassador to Indonesia, was elected as a Non-Executive Director.

Graham Holdaway, a Non-Executive Director of the company, was also appointed a member of the Nomination Committee with immediate effect.

The company said it would now focus on its plan to separate from the Bakrie Group.

Bumi was formed in 2010 when Indonesia's influential Bakrie family reversed their coal mining assets into Rothschild's London-listed cash shell, Vallar.

However, Rothschild and the Bakries had a falling-out following an investigation into financial wrongdoing.

The Bakrie Group has agreed to cancel its indirect 23.8% stake in exchange for Bumi's 10.3% holding in Asia's biggest thermal coal exporter PT Bumi Resources (Other OTC: PBMRF - news) .

Bumi will also sell the remaining 18.9% interest it holds in Bumi Resources to the Bakrie Group for $278m.

Responding to reports early Friday, NR Investments slammed claims made by Bumi that $1.0bn of funds that went missing from Bumi Resources happened before the company was invested.

"The company's assertions must be challenged, because they are just not true," NR Investments said in reaction to an interview between Bumi and CNBC Europe.

"The board of Bumi made an announcement on November (Xetra: A0Z24E - news) 17th, 2011 that an agreement had been reached for the $231m invested with ReCapital by Bumi Resources to be returned in the first half of 2012.

"These funds, currently with a book value of $244m, have not yet been returned. Why not? Will these funds ever come back to Bumi Resources?"

Rothschild has tried to claw back control of Bumi through his proposal to replace members of the board but said his chances were scampered after major shareholder, Indonesian businessman Rosan Roeslani, sold his 10% stake just days before the meeting.

Roeslani disposed of his interest after the UK's Takeover Panel ruled in December that he was acting "in concert" with the Bakrie family and ordered the party to sell down their majority stake to 29.9%.

Bumi's advisor JP Morgan said the outcome of the vote was positive and said the company should turn its attention to separating from the Bakrie Group and restructuring its board.

However, Rothschild's investment company repeated its request for board members to resign. They include Sir Julian Horn-Smith, Lord Renwick, Steven Shapiro, Sir Graham Hearne, Amir Sambodo, Philip Yeo, Sony Harsono, and Graham Holdaway.

RD