Nathaniel Rothschild’s bid to gain control of Bumi, the coal venture at the centre of a dispute between Rothschild and the Bakrie Group, may struggle to win support after a major holder sold a 13 per cent stake.

Rosan Roeslani, an associate of the Bakries, sold about 24.2 million shares of the London-listed company to three separate investors, according to a statement yesterday. The sale increases the amount of votes Rothschild will need to win at the Febraury 21 shareholder vote on his plan to oust most of the board.

The voting rights associated with those shares had previously been excluded by a UK Takeover Panel ruling.

The development comes as a commissioner at the OJK - Indonesia’s financial services regulator - said yesterday that Bumi Plc may be required to make a takeover of Bumi Plc’s Indonesian unit PT Bumi Resources should Rothschild succeed in ousting the board.

‘‘As of yesterday, the voting outcome of these new buyers is still unclear,’’ Alexander Ramlie, a director of Bumi Plc, said today. ‘‘The results of the shareholder votes would probably be very tight for either side.’’

Bumi Plc was founded in 2010 when Rothschild and the Bakries bundled stakes in two Indonesian coal companies - Bumi Resources and PT Berau Coal Energy - in a $US3 billion deal. Both parties have made proposals to shareholders that would separate the Bakries from Bumi Plc, a move the current board of Bumi Plc is also pursuing.

Shares of Bumi Plc advanced 4.4 per cent in London yesterday to 394 pence. The stock, which slumped 69 per cent last year, has rebounded 43 per cent this year. Bumi Resources added 8.6 per cent to 1,010 rupiah, a six-month high, in Jakarta trading this morning.

Bloomberg