* Rothschild seeks to counter Bakrie plan to unwind Bumi
* Says investors committed $342.5 mln in possible new equity
* They account for over quarter of voting rights -sources
* Bumi Plc board meets on Wednesday
By Clara Ferreira-Marques
LONDON, Dec 10 Financier Nat Rothschild said he
had secured the support of 11 investors including Abu Dhabi,
Schroders and Standard Life as he seeks to counter efforts by
his former partners in Bumi to dismantle the coal
Rothschild has been battling Indonesia's politically
influential Bakrie family since they announced a $1.4 billion
bid in October to buy back operating assets they had brought to
the venture, effectively unwinding Bumi and bringing months of
shareholder tension to a head.
Hedge fund veteran Rothschild, who founded Bumi with the
Bakries two years ago, resigned from the board days later in
order to fight the proposal. He has since been rallying new and
existing investors, hoping to revive the venture and his
deal-making reputation along with it.
"My understanding is that the thresholds required by the
Bakries to see their proposal succeed cannot now be reached," he
said in a statement.
A Bakrie spokesman could not be reached for comment. Bumi
confirmed it had received a letter from Rothschild but did not
Bumi's shares have fallen more than 75 percent since June
last year, hit by falling coal prices, shareholder battles and a
probe into allegations of wrongdoing at the group's Indonesian
Detailing a letter sent to Bumi's board last week,
Rothschild said the investors had committed to injecting fresh
cash into Bumi - a total of $342.5 million including
Rothschild's own commitment to put in $75 million.
Sources familiar with the matter said that including
Rothschild's own 12 percent shareholding, those supporting his
bid accounted for some 27 percent of Bumi's voting rights,
potentially a minority strong enough to block the Bakrie move.
The 11 investors include five top institutional shareholders
in Bumi: Abu Dhabi Investment Council, which is the investment
arm of the Abu Dhabi government, and fund managers Schroders,
Standard Life Investments, Taube Hodson Stonex and Artemis.
Other investors supporting him include mining entrepreneur
Robert Friedland and Indonesian investor Hashim Djojohadikusomo,
owner of the Arsari group of companies and brother of former
general and current presidential candidate, Prabowo Subianto.
In Rothschild's alternative proposal, Bakrie-supporting
shareholders would be bought out, while Bumi would keep some
coal assets, namely majority-owned Berau Coal.
He said in the letter to Bumi's board that the investors
were ready to put up cash to "remove completely the Bakries and
their allies from the Bumi Plc shareholder register".
Bumi Plc's board meets on Wednesday.