Asia Resource Minerals and Finsbury cease relationship amid Rothschild-linked takeover bids

Troubled coal producer Asia Resource Minerals (ARMS) has stopped working with Finsbury and will not replace the agency as two competing takeover bids battle it out for control of the London-listed company, PRWeek has learnt.

Sinermas Group: looking to railroad financier Nat Rothschild’s bid for ARMS
Sinermas Group: looking to railroad financier Nat Rothschild’s bid for ARMS

The relationship ceased shortly before Indonesian conglomerate Sinermas Group announced a £210m joint bid via Asia Coal Energy Ventures, a new vehicle created by minority ARMS shareholder Argyle Street Management.

Sinermas Group has appointed Buchanan, sister agency to Finsbury in the WPP group, to represent it during the process. However, it’s understood that this was not the reason ARMS terminated its relationship Finsbury.

Sinermas Group hopes to railroad attempts by financier Nat Rothschild’s NR Holdings to gain control of ARMS via a $100m (£67.8m) refinancing process, which would see his stake in the company rise from 17 per cent to around 60 per cent.

ARMS’ share price rose from 14p on Monday to more than 37p following an initial bid of 41p by Asia Coal Energy Ventures, with a firm bid expected imminently. The urgency comes from the fact that $450m (£299.3m) of the company's $950m (£631.9m) debt is due to be paid in July.

PRWeek understands that ARMS’s PR is being handled in-house by Sean Wade, the firm’s head of investor relations and group comms, with no plans to appoint an external agency during the process.

Buchanan has a media brief to promote the validity of Sinermas Group’s bid and gain support among capital markets.

In a statement, Buchanan said: "We believe that the high-profile bid for ARMS from Asia Coal Energy will deliver the best value for all shareholders and debt holders. This proposed transaction further consolidates Buchanan’s leading position in the UK-listed mining sector."

Neither Finsbury nor ARMS would comment. The takeover bids follow a difficult period for ARMS amid falling coal prices and changes in its senior management – CEO Amir Sambodo stepped down in March. Sinermas is interested in adding ARMS to its fast-growing energy generation business.

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