Fri, 15 Dec 2000

Humpuss Intermoda plans to divest 30 percent stake

JAKARTA (JP): Publicly listed shipping and transportation company PT Humpuss Intermoda Transportasi said on Thursday that it planned to divest up to 30 percent of its stake to strategic investors.

Humpuss president Budhi Halim said that Singapore's Sembawang Group had expressed interest in acquiring a stake, but had yet to follow up on it.

"If they (Sembawang) send us a proposal, we will start negotiations," Budhi told reporters in a press meeting.

Humpuss Intermoda operates a shipping fleet for the transportation of crude oil, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and methanol. The company's main client is state oil and gas company Pertamina, which is the world's largest LNG exporter.

Budhi said that the value of the 30 percent stake was still being determined by majority shareholder Humpuss Group.

The group, controlled by President Soeharto's fugitive son Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra Soeharto, owns 87 percent of Humpuss Intermoda. The remaining 16 percent is owned by the public.

Tommy has been at large for over a month, after his graft conviction in September.

According to Budhi, Tommy currently owns a minority stake of 5.6 percent in the diverse Humpuss Group.

He did not explain the formula for the divestment but said that the funds to be raised from the sale would be used to strengthen the company's working capital.

In such a divestment, it is normal to issue new shares to the buyer. This will cause a dilution in the ownership of existing shareholders.

For the third quarter of this year, Humpuss Intermoda net profit surged to Rp 97.6 billion (US$10.27 million) or up 877 percent from Rp 11.12 billion in the same period last year.

The company attributed the improvement to the divestment of its subsidiary PT Humpuss Terminal Petikemas, a non-profitable container service company.

A weaker rupiah also boosted sales, as the company received dollars for its service.

For the year, Humpuss Intermoda expects net profit to climb to Rp 160 billion.

For next year, it expects earnings to reach Rp 215 billion assuming continued strong dollar earnings.

Budhi said that Humpuss planned to realign its business strategy to the upcoming new oil and gas law, since Pertamina would no longer hold the monopoly over the distribution of oil and gas products.

He admitted that the company's operations depended on contracts with Pertamina.

But the law, he said, would allow Humpuss to directly offer its services to Pertamina's production sharing partners.

"However, Pertamina's shipping division will then turn into a competitor," he added.

Pertamina's production sharing partners would also have the opportunity to offer their shipping services here.

"We've talked to several oil and gas companies and some already own shipping fleets," he explained.

According to him, oil and gas companies like Beyond Petroleum (BP) and Shell are bound to enter the Indonesian shipping transportation business.

Budhi said he hoped the government would protect the local shipping industry from domination by foreign fleets.(bkm)