Indra Bakrie resigns from Bumi board

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Indra Bakrie, the influential Indonesian businessman, has resigned as co-chairman of London-listed coal miner Bumi, two months after the Bakrie Group unveiled a proposal to unwind the company.

Bumi said in a statement on Friday that Mr Bakrie had resigned with immediate effect.

“In his letter to the Bumi board of directors Mr Bakrie stated that because the initial objective of the Bakrie Group in pursuing a London listing had not been met, the Bakrie Group had submitted a proposal to exit from Bumi,” the company said.

“It was therefore appropriate that he resigned as a director of the company,” the letter said.

Bumi was created in 2011 when the Bakries’ Indonesian coal-mining assets were reversed into Vallar, a London-listed shell company created by the financier Nat Rothschild.

But since then, a series of bitter boardroom spats, corporate governance scandals and mounting concerns about the Bakries’ debts have prompted attempts to undo the original deal.

Bumi has since become a symbol of the pitfalls facing investors in emerging market companies, even when they have the aura of respectability that a London listing confers.

In a statement, Mr Rothschild said Mr Bakrie’s resignation from the board was “meaningless”.

“He has not attended a board meeting for over a year and was content to do his business through Samin Tan,” he said, referring to Bumi’s chairman. Mr Rothschild reiterated his call for Mr Tan and another associate of the Bakries, Rosan Roeslani, to quit the board.

In October, the Bakries proposed buying back Bumi’s Indonesian mining assets – a 29 per cent stake in PT Bumi Resources and an 85 per cent stake in Berau Coal Energy. The deal, if completed, would sever Bumi’s ties with Indonesia and the Bakries.

Last month, Mr Rothschild made a counterproposal which would also unwind Bumi’s relationship with the Bakries. The Financial Times reported that he had secured the backing of mining entrepreneur Robert Friedland, the billionaire who founded Ivanhoe Mines.

It also said he had the support of several other investors including Hashim Djojohadikusumo, the Indonesian businessman and brother of general-turned-politician Prabowo Subianto. He is also believed to be in discussions with a large North American pension fund about backing his proposal.

Bumi’s board has said it will await the outcome of an investigation into potential financial irregularities at its Indonesian businesses before considering the proposals from Mr Rothschild and the Bakries.

Mr Rothschild resigned as a Bumi director in October, saying he had lost confidence in the board.

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