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Asia Resource to Hire Chris Walton as Chairman After Separation

Dec. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Asia Resource Minerals Plc, formerly Bumi Plc, will appoint Chris Walton as chairman after splitting from its Indonesian partner at the end of January to resolve a dispute between founders that dragged on more than 1-1/2 years.

Walton, currently chairman of Goldenport Holdings Inc. and Lothian Buses Plc, will join the coal producer’s board on Jan. 1 as an independent non-executive director before becoming chairman, Asia Resource said today in a statement.

Nick Salmon will become a non-executive director and Julian Horn-Smith, current deputy chairman, will step down Jan. 31, the company said. Independent director Steve Shapiro won’t stand for re-election at the next annual general meeting, it said.

Shareholders approved a $501 million deal to separate from Indonesia’s Bakrie family and change the name Dec. 18. The two sides had been working on a split since last year as relations between co-founder Nathaniel Rothschild and the family soured amid financial probes in Asia and the U.K. The company plans to return more than $400 million in proceeds to shareholders.

The two-stage separation will see Chairman Samin Tan buying 23.8 percent of Bumi from the Bakries, making him the largest holder with 47.6 percent. The family will then pay $501 million for Bumi’s 29 percent of Jakarta-based PT Bumi Resources. The deal leaves Asia Resource with 76 percent of PT Berau Coal.

Tan will remain a non-executive director, according to the statement. The Bakries have paid a $50 million deposit into an escrow account with Deutsche Bank AG, while an additional $228 million is needed by Jan. 24 to complete the transaction.

To contact the reporter on this story: Firat Kayakiran in London at fkayakiran@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Viljoen at jviljoen@bloomberg.net

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