Accountant says ARMS needs refinancing to secure future

Thu Aug 28, 2014 5:30am EDT

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By Silvia Antonioli

LONDON, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Asia Resource Minerals (ARMS) , the Indonesia-focused miner formerly known as Bumi Plc, needs to refinance its debts soon in order to survive, its accountants said on Thursday, as the firm posted a wider first-half underlying loss.

ARMS has been dogged by shareholders battles and mutual accusation of wrongdoing since it listed in London in 2010. This, combined with a steep decline in coal prices, which are in the doldrums because of oversupply and sluggish demand, has led to an 80 percent tumble in its share price since then.

The company now needs to refinance to repay $450 million in outstanding notes due in July 2015 but postponed a bond issue this month due to adverse market conditions.

It said on Thursday it was hoping to go ahead with the placement "soon" depending on market conditions.

"As a consequence of the group not refinancing ... the group does not have committed borrowing facilities to meet its working capital requirements for at least the next 12 months," said accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers, which reviewed the company's results.

"This condition ... indicates the existence of a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt about the group's ability to continue as a going concern."

ARMS posted a first-half underlying loss of $65 million from s $45 million loss a year ago, battered by depressed coal prices and rising costs.

ARMS' thermal coal average selling price in the first half of this year fell to $56.5 per tonne from $61.4, but the company is hoping for a recovery to above $70-72 a tonne for the Newcastle benchmark this year and above $80 in 2015.

The company has been undergoing a restructuring this year that left it owning only one asset, its Berau operation in Indonesia, and led to changes at the board, including removal of the previous London-based chief executive Nick von Schirnding.

Its focus is now to cut costs to be prepared for worst-case scenarios, said recently-appointed chief executive Amir Sambodo.

"I can reassure shareholders that despite the changes at management and board level over recent months, we remain resolutely focused on the continued delivery of our strategy, in particular reducing costs," said Indonesia-based Sambodo, who was already president director of Berau before being appointed ARMS CEO in June.

Moving the CEO role from London to Indonesia and combining it with that of Berau president has made the decision process quicker and has produced results such as the negotiation of a 15 percent discount with one of the main contractors, Sambodo said. (Editing by Mark Potter)

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