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Bumi considers selling Bakries' stake in market for cash: report

Exterior view of the office building that houses Bumi Plc in London September 25, 2012. REUTERS/Neil Hall
Exterior view of the office building that houses Bumi Plc in London September 25, 2012. REUTERS/Neil Hall

LONDON (Reuters) - Indonesia-focused coal miner Bumi Plc is considering selling the 23.8 percent stake held by Indonesia's Bakrie family in the market for cash, instead of a previous plan to cancel the shares, a report on Sunday said.

The proposal would allow Bumi to return cash to shareholders well in excess of the nearly $300 million already expected to be handed back, the Sunday Telegraph said, without citing its sources.

Bumi was co-founded by financier Nat Rothschild and the Bakrie family but has struggled in the past two years to overcome bitter boardroom battles, a probe into financial irregularities and the tumbling price of coal.

Its board now wants to overhaul the company by parting ways with the Bakrie family and concentrating on the 85 percent-owned unit Berau , as opposed to a minority stake in Jakarta-listed Bumi Resources .

A potential sale of the Bakries' stake, however, could prove to be a fresh point of tension between Rothschild and the Bakrie family as well as other potentially affiliated shareholders, the Telegraph said.

Bumi declined to comment on the report.

Bumi said last month it had completed a review of irregularities in the accounts of Berau, which identified the expenditure of $201 million with no clear business purpose, without elaborating. It said it would seek to recover the money.

(Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer; editing by Jane Baird)

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