Mon, 29 Aug 1994

Banks strive to recoup Robby's debts

JAKARTA (JP): Bank Bumi Daya (BBD) and Bank Pembangunan Indonesia (Bapindo) are searching for ways of tackling Robby Tjahyadi's debt arrears of around Rp 500 billion (US$239 million) at the two state banks.

Spokesmen of the two banks said Saturday that technical and administrative solutions are being hammered out to recoup the unpaid debts of Robby, the owner of the Kanindo Group of textile companies.

Sampurna and Eddy Tjahyono, respectively spokesmen for BBD and Bapindo, confirmed that Robby has defaulted on his loans to the two banks, but both refused to disclose the exact amount of the overdue debt.

Reliable sources, however, put Robby's debt arrears at the two banks in the neighborhood of Rp 500 billion.

Robby's bad debts have been widely published in the news media after Minister of Finance Mar'ie Muhammad and Minister of Industry Tunky Ariwibowo made a statement early last week about the plan of Texmaco Group, a major textile producer, and the Association of Batik Cooperatives (GKBI) to take over the Kanindo Group.

The ministers' statements followed the stunning allegation about the Kanindo Group's debt problem made by a member of the House of Representatives (DPR) in February, just weeks after the Golden Key Group's huge unpaid debt at Bapindo became public.


Robby, according to reliable sources, received credit facilities totaling Rp 474 billion from both BBD and Bapindo between 1990 and 1993 to build up his textile giant, now known as the Kanindo Group.

The loans, which carry interest of between 20 and 28 percent per year, have partially turned sour, leaving Robby with debt arrears of around Rp 376 billion as of March. The overdue amount is estimated to rise to Rp 490 billion by the end of this year if no fresh payments are made, the sources said.

Kanindo executives acknowledged that the textile giant suffers from a serious liquidity problem as suppliers of raw materials for the textile manufacturing have required cash for all goods they sold, following the disclosure of the business group's debt problem.

An executive of another textile company said that the Kanindo Group's problems worsened in the following months as the group sold most of its products below their production costs due to its severe need for cash.

In February, Bambang Warih Kusuma, a DPR member, disclosed that the Kanindo Group's bad debt was larger than Bapindo's credit facility defaulted by the Golden Key Group.

Eddy Tansil, Golden Key's boss, was sentenced early this month to 17 years for circumventing banking procedures, which apparently caused Bapindo to lose more than US$448 million. The former head of Bapindo's Jakarta branch was sentenced to nine years for his part in helping Tansil cash the illegal credit facility, while the bank's three former presidents are now being tried for their alleged roles in the case.


The Kanindo Group's case is similar to that of the Golden Key Group, Bambamg said, alleging that Robby also violated banking standards and channeled the loan facility to other business activities outside his textile operation.

He also charged that Robby, who spent five years in jail in the 1970s for smuggling luxury cars into the country, had overvalued his assets in order to receive such a large loan.

State Minister for Investment Sanyoto Sastrowardoyo said Friday bankers are at fault if Kanindo's loans were abnormally too high.

"BKPM just gave an investment license," said Sanyoto, also the chairman of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM). "It is the bank which should assess whether or not a project is feasible and whether Robby's assets were overvalued."

In a related development, Johannes Kotjo, a former executive of the Salim Group, confirmed over the weekend that he and his associates have provided a bridging loan of Rp 825 million (US$ 379,000) per day to salvage the debt ridden Kanindo group.

He said his side, which includes Kim Johannes Mulia, an Indonesian businessman living in Singapore, would have an option to receive the Kanindo group's shares if Robby is not able to repay the loans, which would be extended to the company at Rp 825 million per day within six months beginning Aug. 1. (hen)