Indonesian Coal Giant Bumi Lashes Out at ‘Attack’
Indonesia’s largest coal miner Bumi Resources described itself on Tuesday as under attack after its parent company, founded by British billionaire Nathaniel Rothschild, ordered a probe into its finances.
London-listed coal giant Bumi Plc owns a 29 percent stake in the Jakarta-based Bumi Resources. Last week it ordered an investigation into “potential financial and other irregularities,” including a $637 million writedown of development funds and assets.
Bumi Resources had undergone a “motivated attack,” said director Dileep Srivastava. “We don’t know who is behind it and what the motivation is,” he added.
Bumi Plc has engaged in a long-running public feud with Bumi Resources, owned by the wealthy Indonesian Bakrie family. Rothschild was ousted as co-chair of Bumi Plc in March after calling for a “radical clean-up” of the Indonesian firm.
Srivastava declined to name who was behind the attack and said the company was “very confused” by Bumi Plc’s announcement.
Srivastava was speaking at a public disclosure of the company’s financial standing demanded by the Indonesian Stock Exchange. He described Bumi Resources as “a class act” that had trebled coal production since 2003 to an expected 75 million tons this year.
But the company’s shares have slid by 68 percent this year, and fell 20 percent in the three days following Bumi Plc’s announcement last week of a probe.
Ratings agency Moody’s revised Bumi Resources’ outlook from stable to negative the day after Bumi Plc’s statement. Standard and Poor’s downgraded Berau Energy, owned by Bumi Resources, citing the “potential negative effect” of the investigation.
Bumi Resources is one of many companies owned by the family of Aburizal Bakrie, one of Indonesia’s wealthiest men and a probable candidate for the nation’s 2014 presidential election.