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Asia Resource to Hire Chris Walton as Chairman After Separation

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.

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