UK watchdog rules against Bakries' Bumi voting appeal

LONDON Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:55pm GMT

Women walk in front of the Bakrie Tower, developed by Bakrieland Development, a property unit of Bakrie and Bros, in a Jakarta business district March 28, 2011. REUTERS/Enny Nuraheni

Women walk in front of the Bakrie Tower, developed by Bakrieland Development, a property unit of Bakrie and Bros, in a Jakarta business district March 28, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Enny Nuraheni

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's corporate takeover regulator dismissed an appeal by Indonesia's Bakrie family over restrictions on their voting rights at Bumi, BUMIP.L ahead of a key vote on the coal miner's future.

The Takeover Panel, which oversees mergers and acquisitions, said on Tuesday that its December ruling that the Indonesian Bakrie family's voting power was restricted to 29.9 percent will stand.

Bumi, set up in 2010, has become a corporate quagmire, a cautionary tale for institutional investors and a battleground for its feuding co-founders - financier Nathaniel Rothschild and the Bakries, who launched the appeal against the Panel's ruling.

Investors are set to vote on Thursday on a plan by Rothschild to oust 12 of Bumi's 14 current board members, bringing in a team that includes his own return as executive director.

A key Indonesian investor, Rosan Roeslani, sold his 10 percent holding in Bumi on Monday, threatening Nat Rothschild's hopes of victory in the battle to win control of the company.

The Panel's dismissal of the Indonesian appeal came in a statement which appeared to reproach the Bakries for trying to re-write Britain's takeover rules.

"The reality which the committee considers emerges from the submissions of the appellant is that the appellant is seeking to re-write the code," it said.

"The appellant is also, in effect, seeking to amend or side-step the 19 December rulings of the executive."

The Panel said the Bakries had notified it that they did not intend to appeal the dismissal.

(Reporting by Sarah Young, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)

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