Fri, 03 Mar 2000

CMNP to pay bond interest as scheduled

JAKARTA (JP): Publicly listed toll road operator PT Citra Marga Nusaphala Persada (CMNP) pledged on Thursday to pay the interest on its U.S. dollar and rupiah-denominated bonds in August as initially scheduled.

Newly appointed finance director Ilham W. Siregar said that the interest amounted to Rp 54 billion, based on the assumption of an exchange rate of Rp 8,000 per U.S. dollar.

"We're determined to pay the interest charge in August ... our cash flow is fine as traffic volume has now increased," he told reporters in a gathering.

He said the annual interest of the company's foreign and domestic bonds was Rp 108 billion. Interest on its foreign bonds is paid semiannually, while interest of its local notes is paid on a quarterly basis.

Ilham said that CMNP's outstanding foreign loans totaled US$116.8 million, comprising $79 million in Eurobonds and $37.8 million in floating rate notes (FRNs).

He said both debts matured in 2002.

The interest rate on the Eurobonds was fixed at 7.25 percent, while that of the FRNs is 1.5 percentage points above the London Inter Bank Offered Rate (LIBOR).

He added that the company also issued some Rp 224 billion worth of domestic bonds with maturity in 2004.

Ilham said the company was devising options, particularly on how to repay its outstanding foreign loans.

"We're now making the calculations. We're looking at our cash flow and studying the market conditions."

CMNP was cofounded by foundations linked to former president Soeharto and several state companies. The company's first toll road went into operation in 1989.

The company is now 38 percent controlled by public shareholders, including foreign enterprises. The remaining shareholders include the Soeharto-affiliated foundations (11 percent), PT Indocement Tunggal Prakarsa (8 percent), PT Citra Lamtoro Gung Persada (2.9 percent), with the remainder in the hands of state-owned steel firm PT Krakatau Steel and toll road operator PT Jasa Marga.

Citra Lamtoro is owned by Siti "Tutut" Hardijanti Rukmana, the eldest daughter of Soeharto.

Ilham said traffic volume on CMNP's toll road in Jakarta in 1999 increased 13 percent from 260,000 cars per day in 1998.

He expected that revenue from domestic toll road operations during the year would reach Rp 275 billion.

He declined to disclose the 1999 net profit level, saying the company was still awaiting the results of its toll road investment in Manila.

Traffic volume in 1998 dropped from 320,000 cars per day in 1997 due to widespread unrest before and following the resignation of Soeharto in May 1998.

Ilham said that as the economy moved toward recovery and the capital returned to normal, traffic volume increased again.

However, he said CMNP proposed to the authorities to raise the tolls by an average Rp 500 from the current Rp 3,000.

The company's tolls were last increased in 1996 based on a presidential decree.

Elsewhere, Ilham said that CMNP had not yet decided when to resume development of its 36-km toll road in East Java, which was put on hold when the country's economic crisis struck.

He said the company was still looking into new ways to make the project cost effective.

Total investment was projected at Rp 1.3 trillion before the crisis started in mid-1997.(rei)