Nathaniel Rothschild, the financier seeking to take control of Bumi Plc, resigned as a director of Barrick Gold Corp. ahead of a February showdown with the Indonesian coal producer.
Rothschild had been on the board of Barrick, the world’s biggest gold producer, since April 2010. His resignation, which took effect Jan. 7, was due to “other time commitments,” Toronto-based Barrick said yesterday in a statement. Rothschild declined to comment.
Rothschild, who holds 14.7 percent of the voting rights at Bumi, is seeking to replace the company’s chief executive officer and most of its board with his own nominees, with himself returning as an executive director. Bumi agreed Jan. 6 to his request for a shareholder meeting to throw open 12 of its 14 board seats at an unspecified date next month.
Bumi was founded by Rothschild and the Bakrie Group, a family-owned empire with investments in palm oil to property, in a $3 billion deal in 2010 that grouped stakes in two Indonesian coal producers. Its market value has since slumped to 723 million pounds ($1.6 billion) as boardroom infighting and financial probes prompted moves by both parties to unwind their collaboration, and Rothschild has sought support for a plan to remove the Bakries as shareholders of Bumi.
Rothschild currently has three remaining board memberships, including at oil and natural gas investing company Genel Energy Plc, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. He’s also trustee of Berma Trust SA and chairman of resources developer JNR Ltd.
Rothschild attended all five of Barrick’s regular board meetings in 2011 and all four of its special meetings, according to Barrick’s proxy filing last year.
Barrick rose 0.2 percent to C$33.20 at the close in Toronto. The company announced yesterday that it ended talks over the sale of its African unit to China National Gold Group Corp. without reaching an agreement.