December 10, 2012 / 5:01 PM / in 5 years

Rothschild says top funds back him in Bumi quest

LONDON, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Financier Nat Rothschild said on Monday he had secured the support of 11 investors for his proposal to keep coal mining venture Bumi alive, including five of the group’s largest independent institutional shareholders.

Rothschild founded Bumi two years ago with Indonesia’s politically connected Bakrie family, which reversed Indonesian operating assets into a shell company set up by Rothschild.

The relationship has soured, and, in October, the Bakries bid $1.4 billion to reacquire operating assets that underpin Bumi, a move that would dismantle the group.

Rothschild has since proposed an alternative which would see Bakrie-supporting shareholders bought out, while Bumi would keep some coal assets, namely majority-owned Berau Coal.

Rothschild said his plan was backed by top Bumi institutional shareholders Abu Dhabi Investment Council, Schroders Investment Management Limited, Standard Life Investments, Taube Hodson Stonex LLP, and Artemis Investment Management LLP.

He said mining entrepreneur Robert Friedland and Indonesian investor Hashim Djojohadikusomo were also among the backers.

“In my letter to the board, I attached non-binding letters of support from these investors, which together with my own commitment of $75 million represents a total of $342.5 million to be made available in the form of new equity at Bumi,” Rothschild said in a statement.

“My understanding is that the thresholds required by the Bakries to see their proposal succeed cannot now be reached.”

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