Bumi falls at first hurdle

Dissident shareholders outside the Bumi plc AGM (Photo: DTE)

DTE briefing, 14th June, 2012

Activists asked Bumi plc awkward questions at the company's first London AGM today. Bumi was listed on the London Stock Exchange earlier this year amid criticism over governance, environment, and human rights.

In response to questions from DTE, LMN and War on Want, Bumi said there had been no problems with the labour force at the Kaltim Prima Mine in East Kalimantan and distanced itself from any problems with contractors.

Chairman Samin Tan, when asked about corporate social responsibility, claimed that people in Indonesia are more powerful than businesses, a response that was greeted with incredulity by dissident shareholders.

No member of the Bakrie family, major shareholders in Bumi plc, was present at the meeting, even though (or perhaps because of the fact that) there has been criticism of the family's refusal to take responsibility for a mudflow disaster in Java in 2006 which caused several deaths and displaced thousands of people from their land.

A question was asked on behalf of Indonesian activists about the polluting of a marine conservation area by Berau Coal, one of Bumi's companies. The company denied any pollution with chemicals.

The company was also asked about share ownership - the corporate structure is highly complex. Bumi's evasive response to this question indicates the lack of transparency surrounding the company, its structure and its activities.

The company was apparently flummoxed by a question on how Bumi will meet the challenges of climate change - has the company adequately assessed the risks of investing in coal due to climate change-related concerns over fossil fuels? - not appearing to understand even why this question was being asked.

The question of what constitutes 'engagement' between the company and its critics was debated at the meeting and it appears that Bumi continues to want to conduct all its dubious business behind closed doors.

The question of why this company was ever allowed to be listed on the London Stock Exchange remains to be answered.


Further information:

DTE-LMN-WOW Press Release 14th June 2012.

Bumi's Utterly Extraordinary AGM, by London Mining Network, 14th June 2012.

The Indonesian mining scandal at the heart of UK capital, a London Calling Special Report, by Nostromo Research, 17 June 2012.

An Indonesian coal mining company on the London Stock Exchange, DTE newsletter, May 2012.

Corruption, Collusion, Nepotism, DTE newsletter, August 2010

UK-listed companies and the case for further oversight, London Mining Network, February 2012