JAKARTA (Reuters) - The Indonesian coal miner accused of financial irregularities by Bumi Plc BUMIP.L, the London-listed coal venture founded by financier Nathaniel Rothschild, said on Wednesday it would act rapidly to resolve the matter.
Bumi Plc shares have dropped 14 percent this week after it launched a probe into potential irregularities in more than $500 million of funds at its Indonesian subsidiaries. It has commissioned London law firm Macfarlanes to investigate.
Bumi Resources (BUMI.JK), Asia’s biggest exporter of thermal coal that is 29 percent owned by Bumi Plc, said it is aware of an investigation. The London-listed entity is controlled by Indonesian investors, including the influential Bakrie family.
“The management of PT Bumi Resources Tbk will be acting to resolve these matters as expeditiously as possible for benefit of all stakeholders and will make further announcements as appropriate in due course,” it said in a statement.
The company would comply with all its obligations under Indonesian law, the statement said. Bumi Resources had received no advance notice of the investigation, it said.
The London-listed firm has highlighted irregularities of more than $500 million.
But if the probe extends to loans to related parties as well as development funds, the sum in question could total $1.1 billion, said a source familiar with the investigation.
Bumi Resources shares fell as much as 13 percent on Tuesday on a perception the crisis could drag on, before closing up 1.5 percent. They were trading down 2.9 percent on Wednesday.
Bumi was listed in London last year via a reverse takeover engineered by Rothschild, the 41-year-old scion of the centuries-old European banking dynasty, in a $3 billion deal with the Bakrie family.
They aimed to create an international coal-mining titan with mines in Indonesian Borneo, and one of the biggest listed companies on the London exchange.
But the partnership has steadily unravelled. Rothschild’s influence has waned since his role as co-chairman ended in March following public rancour with the Bakries and Bumi’s new co-chairman, Samin Tan. The Bakries and Tan now own 47 percent.
Writing by Matthew Bigg; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Neil Fullick