Tue, 04 Jan 2000

IBRA files suits against Tirtamas, West Kalindo

JAKARTA (JP): The Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA) has filed bankruptcy claims with the Jakarta Commercial Court against trading firm PT Tirtamas Comexindo and PT West Kalindo Pulp Papermill.

In filing the bankruptcy claim against Tirtamas on Dec. 30, IBRA was acting on behalf of closed Bank Tamara, which has claims against the firm totaling Rp 38 billion, including unpaid interest payments and penalties. The loans matured in August last year.

The head of IBRA's legal division, Agustus Sani Nugroho, said here on Monday the debt to Bank Tamara was just a portion of Tirtamas' bad debts to banks under the control of IBRA. "From there, we will move to recover all debts the company owes IBRA."

He said the company was uncooperative in working toward a settlement of the debts, which total US$95.7 million and Rp 69.7 billion ($10 million).

"But, I should say here the recovery of assets from this company might be much less than its debts because we mostly only get personal guarantees from Hashim Djojohadikusumo."

One guarantee is nine million shares of PT Semen Cibinong, which belongs to Hashim's Tirtamas Group.

Meanwhile, Benny Harman from Abdul Hakim G. Nusantara and Partners law firm -- which is representing IBRA in its claim against Tirtamas Comexindo -- proposed the court appoint an ad hoc judge to assist the commercial court's judges in hearing his client's case.

"Because of the complexity of the case, it needs the expertise and special knowledge of ad hoc judges," Benny said.

The government, through a ministerial decree early last year, appointed experts in business law to sit on a board of ad hoc judges, whose task is to assist the commercial court judges in their verdicts.

Nugroho also said IBRA filed a bankruptcy claim against West Kalimantan-based PT West Kalindo Pulp Papermill. He said the company failed to pay Rp 131 billion in debts, including unpaid interest payments and penalties, to state-owned Bank Rakyat Indonesia.

He also said the recovery of assets from the pulp and paper mill would be much less than the company's debts as the value of the assets used as collateral was much lower than the debts.

Among IBRA's numerous tasks under the government bank restructuring program is recouping bad debts at state banks, particularly debts of over Rp 5 billion.

Teguh Samudera -- a lawyer representing IBRA in its claim against West Kalindo -- said the majority of the pulp company's debt to the bank was made up of investment loans, while the remaining was working capital loans.

The loans matured between December 1996 and August 1998 according to the bankruptcy suit filed by Teguh on Dec. 30.

"We are also naming two individuals, Thee Ning Khong and Hasan Basuki -- the personal guarantors of the company's loans -- in the bankruptcy claim," he said in the document.

The document was obtained by The Jakarta Post from the commercial court on Monday.

These two bankruptcy claims filed by IBRA with the Jakarta Commercial Court on Dec. 30 were the last two bankruptcy claims filed in 1999. They were also the 99th and 100th claims filed last year.

Both cases are scheduled to open this week.(udi/rid)