CORRECTED-Asia Resource Minerals gives Bakries more time for split

Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:10pm EST

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(Corrects ARM stake figure in fifth paragraph to 24 percent from 30 percent)

LONDON Jan 20 (Reuters) - Coal miner Asia Resource Minerals (ARM) agreed on Monday to give the influential Bakrie family four more weeks to fulfil requirements for a split from the company, delaying once more a much-needed step for the firm's turnaround.

Indonesia-focused ARM, previously known as Bumi Plc., has been hit by shareholder battles, allegations of wrongdoing and falling coal prices in the past few years.

In a bid to revive the London-listed company, shareholders voted to split with the Bakrie family that co-founded it.

The Bakrie family now have until 21 February to enable the long-awaited split or lose the $50 million they have already committed to the process.

Under a complex separation deal, the Bakrie family is to sell its ARM stake of 24 percent for $223 million to outgoing chairman Samin Tan - who in turn would become the single largest shareholder, with 47.6 percent.

The plan then is for the Bakries to use the sale income plus additional cash of about $228 million to buy back a 29 percent stake in Indonesian miner PT Bumi Resources which is currently held by ARM.

ARM has already twice this month granted the Bakries extra time to complete the deal, which originally had a final deadline of Jan 24.

Now the Bakries have until 21 February.

Given the repeated requests for an extension, some shareholders have expressed concern that the Bakries might have difficulties in financing the cash portion of the deal. The family has paid a $50 million non-refundable deposit.

"There is no such thing as a risk-free transactions but you have got a $50 million non-refundable deposit so I suspect the Bakries have to find a way to complete this one way or the other," said one company shareholder who asked not to be named.

"I believe incentives are what drive any company so, you figure a 10 percent deposit is a pretty big incentive to complete the transaction."

The Bakries founded Bumi Plc. in 2010 together with Nat Rothschild, with the aim of bringing promising Indonesian coal assets to London investors, but their relationship soured quickly.

The company's shares have lost about three quarters of their value since listing, and were trading around at 234.50 sterling pence on Monday.

A spokesman for the Bakrie Group declined to comment. (Reporting by Silvia Antonioli and Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by Sophie Walker and Anthony Barker)

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