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Bakrie family 'confident of ousting Rothschild?

By Giulia Cambieri

The Bakrie family and its business associate Samin Tam are reportedly confident that the majority of Bumi’s shareholders will back a proposal to remove financier Nat Rothschild from the Indonesian coalminer’s board.

They need just an additional 20.2% of votes to be cast in favour of removing Rothschild and four other directors from the board, as the Bakries and Tam together control 29.9% of the company’s voting shares. They also own 47.6% of Bumi’s ordinary stake.

According to Bloomberg, a spokesman for the Bakrie Group said: “We’re very confident that common sense will prevail and shareholders will see our view that we’re doing the right thing.

“It’s important to have a manageable-sized board that understands the asset and understands the complexity of Indonesia,” he added in the interview on 9 February.

Speaking to Reuters, Indian businessman Tam, who bought a 23.8% equity stake in Bumi from the Bakries in November, added: “We are very confident, otherwise we wouldn't have done what we have done."

Last week the Bakries and Tan called for a shareholder meeting to remove the five directors from Bumi’s board, in an attempt to have more control over the management of the London-listed company.

They proposed Tan and Indra Bakrie, a member of the Bakrie family, be nominated as co-chairmen of the group.

Rothschild, a descendent of the well-known banking family, controls about 11% of the coalminer’s equity shares and currently serves as the company’s chairman.

Relations between him and the Bakrie family began deteriorating last autumn, with Rothschild calling for a “radical cleaning up” of corporate governance at the group in November.

The Bakrie family and Tam could not be reached for comment.

Achmad Bakrie established the Bakrie Group in 1942. The company is currently headed by Achmad’s son Nirwan and has interests in a number of industries, including agriculture, shipping and mining.