Indonesia's Bakries agree to separation from Bumi

Indonesia's powerful Bakrie family has reached an initial deal to withdraw from London-listed coal firm Bumi Plc, a Bakrie spokesman said Wednesday, ahead of a crucial general meeting.

The Bakrie Group has been in boardroom tussles with British financier Nathaniel Rothschild over control of the company and its lucrative coal assets in Indonesia since soon after the joint venture was set up in mid-2011.

"This agreement is a significant step forward in the process of unwinding our interest in Bumi Plc," group spokesman Chris Fong told AFP.

The separation, however, will not be official until shareholders vote at the company's extraordinary general meeting on February 21, when Rothschild could hamper the deal if his proposal to replace 12 of 14 board members is approved.

"Reaching this milestone yet again highlights the fact that under the current board the separation from the Bakrie Group can be achieved but if Nat Rothschild's resolutions are passed it cannot," Bumi CEO Nick Schirnding said in a statement.

He said the company and the Bakries had signed a heads of term -- an agreement that precedes an official contract -- to separate, allowing the family to sell its 23.8 percent stake in the company.

In return, the Bakries will receive a 10.3 percent of Indonesia-based Bumi Resources, the crown jewel of the joint venture, and buy the remaining 18.9 percent stake from Bumi for $278 million.

Bumi said the Bakries must pay a $50 million deposit by Friday to secure the separation.