After a very public and bitter 18-month boardroom feud between company founders, coal miner Asia Resource Minerals Plc, formerly London-listed Bumi Plc, has named businessman Chris Walton as chair after splitting from its Indonesian partner at Q1 2013.
Walton, currently chairman of Goldenport Holdings Inc. and Lothian Buses Plc, will join the coal producer’s board in Q1 2014 as an independent non-executive director before becoming chairman, Asia Resource officials said in a statement. Nick Salmon will become a non-executive director; Julian Horn-Smith, current deputy chairman, will step down next month, company representatives added.
Shareholders approved a $501 million deal to separate from Indonesia’s Bakrie family and change its name last week. Both sides had sought a split since 2012 after relations between co-founder Nathaniel Rothschild and the Bakrie clan 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 witness Chairman Samin Tan purchasing 23.8% of Bumi from the Bakrie family, making him the top holder with 47.6%. The Bakries will then pay $501 million for Bumi’s 29% of Jakarta-based PT Bumi Resources; the agreement leaves Asia Resources 76% of PT Berau Coal, the archipelago’s top producer of thermal coal.
Tan will remain a non-executive director, according to the statement. The Bakries, meanwhile, have paid a $50 million deposit in a escrow account, while a further $228 million is needed by the end of Q1 2014 to finish the transaction.
The politically influential Bakrie family is one of the wealthiest in nation with natural resources projects across the archipelago; Nathaniel Rothschild is a scion of one of Europe’s wealthiest dynasties.