Indonesia-focused ARMS, previously known as Bumi, was founded in
2010 by the influential Bakries and financier Nat Rothschild, with
the aim of giving London investors access to promising Indonesian
The business suffered from boardroom rows, allegations of wrongdoing
and falling coal prices. Its shares have lost almost 80 percent of
their value since the business was set up.
Tuesday's fiery Twitter exchange between Rothschild and Aga Bakrie,
a member of the politically-connected Bakrie family, demonstrated
the extent to which the company founders' relationship had soured.
"Whilst your dad is an evil genius (yes I'm paying Nirwan a
compliment), the word on the street is that you are extremely DUMB,"
tweeted Rothschild, who has a stake of about 16 percent in ARMS, to
To this Bakrie replied: "Dumb, I believe that's the word that has
been associated with you by most of the people that I have met."
In an attempt to revive the business's fortunes, ARMS shareholders
voted in December to split from the Bakrie family, but this took
longer than expected due to difficulties of raising the necessary
As part of the separation process, outgoing ARMS Chairman Samin Tan
bought the Bakries' 23.8 percent stake in ARMS through
investment vehicle Borneo Lumbung Energy & Metal Tbk <BORN.JK>. ARMS
sold its 29.2 percent stake in Jakarta-listed miner PT Bumi
Resources <BUMI.JK> to the Bakries for $501 million. The deal pushed
Borneo's ARMS stake to 47.6 percent.
In another tweet Rothschild thanked the Bakrie for buying Bumi
Resources to which he referred as "a worthless piles of turd".
The Bakrie member replied that Indonesia is an amazing investment
With the split now completed, ARMS will focus on turning around its
other main Indonesian subsidiary, Berau Coal <BRAU.JK>, while giving
up a stake in Asia's top thermal coal exporter PT Bumi Resources <BUMI.JK>.
"I feel vindicated. There were a number of stakeholders saying this
would never happen. I can't say it has been easy, it was a
complicated transaction, but to have achieved this is excellent for
our shareholders," ARMS Chief Executive Nick von Schirnding said in
a phone interview.
"Our focus is on our subsidiary now. We need to regain credibility
and today's announcement is the first step in that direction."
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ARMS said it would return $400 million to shareholders but did not
give any timeframe.
Shareholders welcomed the completion of the separation but said they
hoped ARMS would return closer to the $501 million it got from the
"I think it's important to return the maximum amount of money
because there is no appetite from the major shareholders, certainly
not from me, to entrust money with the management team in London to
redeploy that capital," Rothschild said.
"We want the business ... to be run as efficiently as possible and
for all dividends to be passed through to shareholders."
ARMS said it was cooperating with regulatory investigations.
Britain's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Takeover Panel,
an independent body that supervises takeovers to ensure fair
treatment for all shareholders, are investigating the company's
formation in 2010 and subsequent events.
Last year Rothschild asked the FCA to look into whether ARMS made
misleading statements to the market.
ARMS said it would now try to trace and return to shareholders money
the company says is owed by the former head of its Berau subsidiary
The company in November started arbitration proceedings seeking to
recover $173 million from Roeslani in Singapore, but said on Tuesday
it will take all appropriate actions with authorities in the UK,
Indonesia and other relevant jurisdictions.
(Editing by Jane Merriman, David Holmes and Andrew Hay)
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