Bumi Delays Earnings Release to Review Berau Coal Operations

Bumi Plc, the coal company that has been at the center of a dispute between co-founders Nathaniel Rothschild and Indonesia’s Bakrie family, delayed releasing earnings as it reviews the balance sheet of its largest unit.

Bumi will announce results on April 24, a month later than scheduled, as new management at its PT Berau Coal Energy unit is “undertaking a thorough review of all balance sheet items,” the London-traded company said yesterday in a statement.

Bumi, which plunged 69 percent last year in London, is working to dispose of its stake in PT Bumi Resources and separate from the Bakries after last month defeating an attempt by Rothschild to take control of the Bumi Plc board. That will leave Bumi Plc with an 85 percent holding in Berau Coal, Indonesia’s fifth-largest producer of the fuel.

“In light of this work by the incoming Berau management, additional time is needed to finalize the year-end accounts of Berau,” Bumi Plc said in the statement. Bumi’s results had been scheduled for March 26.

Bumi Plc dropped 1.4 percent to close at 303.7 pence by the close in London, the lowest since Jan. 9. It slumped 7.6 percent yesterday, the biggest decline in three weeks. Berau Coal was unchanged at 240 rupiah in Jakarta.

The postponement of Bumi Plc’s earnings announcement “is a worrying and unsurprising announcement,” Rothschild said yesterday in a separate statement.

‘Not Acceptable’

“The ‘new’ management team at Berau is, in fact, well established,” with Chief Financial Officer Scott Merrillees in place since May 2012, he said. “It is not acceptable, therefore, simply to cite management changes as a cause for the delay.”

A spokesman for Bumi Plc in London declined to comment further.

Former Bumi director Rosan Roeslani resigned as president director of Berau Coal on March 8 and was replaced by Eko Santoso Budianto. Bumi Plc Chairman Samin Tan also quit Berau Coal this month.

Kenneth Allan and Eva Tarigan, who both resigned this month from PT Bumi Resources, were appointed as commissioners at Berau Coal.

The management changes at Berau “represent a critical step in the company’s strategy of further strengthening internal financial controls and corporate governance standards throughout the group’s Indonesian operations,” Bumi Plc said yesterday.

Allan and Tarigan were also both directors at Tan’s PT Borneo Lumbung Energi & Metal, which last year bought a 23.8 percent stake in Bumi Plc from the Bakries for $1 billion.

Independent Probe

In September, Bumi Plc commissioned an independent probe by London-based law firm Macfarlanes LLP following information from a “whistle-blower” describing potential financial and other irregularities.

The probe was to focus on “extensive” development funds at Bumi Resources and an asset in Berau Coal, which were marked down to zero in the accounts of Bumi Plc as of Dec. 31, 2011.

The company said Jan. 22 the findings of the probe can’t be released because of legal risk. While the investigation found evidence to support a number of allegations, the claims couldn’t be substantiated because of the unwillingness of some parties to be interviewed, it said.

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