Battle for control of Asia Resource heats up

Battle for control of Asia Resource heats up

Asia Resource Minerals has an 84.7% controlling interest in PT Berau, the fifth-largest thermal coal producer in Indonesia.

An ongoing battle for to gain control of UK-listed coal miner Asia Resource Minerals (LON:ARMS), formerly known as Bumi, is heating up after its chairman Bob Kamandanu decided to step down Friday.

The move came barely weeks ahead of a vote proposed by largest shareholder Samin Tan to replace most directors and take the reins at the company. Kamandanu was not on Tan’s list.

Shareholder battles and a sharp decline in coal prices have hit the Indonesia-focused miner hard, causing its shares to sink by more than 90% since its London listing in 2010.

Tan, who controls 23.8% of the firm, proposed in December to replace most directors, with a shareholder vote on his request expected to take place in the next few weeks.

Bumi was created in 2010 when Indonesia’s Bakrie family and Nat Rothschild, descendant of the founder of the two-centuries old banking empire, used a cash shell, Vallar, to list the coal and other mining interest in London, providing the members of the Sumatran family a high profile in the West in a $3 billion deal.

But only two years later, the firm that once aimed to become one of the largest UK-based resources groups, was dealing with bitter recriminations between the Rothschild and the Bakries, a probe by the UK market regulator, allegations of financial impropriety, email hacking and disastrous derivatives trades.