Sat, 27 Sep 2003

IBRA gets bids for 51 percent stake in publicly listed BII

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA) said on Friday it had received three preliminary non-binding bids for a 51 percent stake in publicly listed Bank International Indonesia (BII).

The agency said in a press statement that the consortia were each led by Indonesia's Bank Panin, Singapore's United Overseas Bank, and Sorak Financial Holding Pte. Ltd.

IBRA did not name the members of the first two consortia, but the Sorak Financial consortium consisted of South Korea's Kookmin Bank and Singapore's Asia Financial Holding Ltd.

The agency said it would announce the wining bidder sometime in the first or second week of November.

The government via IBRA took a controlling 93.7 percent stake in BII following bailout measures during the late 1990s financial crisis.

BII is one of the country's top 10 banks with assets worth more than Rp 36 trillion (US$4.28 billion) and 1.1 million customers.

The bank was previously the financial arm of the Sinar Mas conglomerate, the second largest business group in the country prior to the 1997 Asian economic crisis.

"The divestment program is also expected to obtain the right partner that can (help) develop and boost the performance of BII," the agency said in the statement.

One of IBRA's mandates is to restructure ailing banks and divest government stakes in the banks to raise cash to help finance the state budget, which has been heavily burdened with the huge bank bailout cost.

Earlier this week, IBRA announced that three consortia consisting of 18 local and foreign firms had submitted preliminary bids for a 52 percent stake in publicly listed Bank Lippo. The agency is also expected to name the winning bidder next month.

Next year, the government plans to sell a majority stake in Bank Permata.

In the last two years, the government has sold its majority stakes in Bank Danamon, Bank Niaga and Bank Central Asia (BCA).

Some 51 percent of BCA shares were sold to Farindo Investment in March last year, raising around Rp 5.6 trillion in cash.

A majority 51 percent stake in Bank Niaga was sold to Malaysia's Commerce Asset in November for 1.06 trillion, and also 51 percent of the shares in Bank Danamon were sold to a consortium called Asia Financial for Rp 3.08 trillion.

These banks were sold for between 1.2 and 1.45 times the book value.

The recent initial public offering (IPO) of state-owned Bank Mandiri, the country's largest bank in terms of assets, was also a success, raising some Rp 2.7 trillion in cash for the government's coffers.

The government is now planning to launch an IPO for Bank BRI, another giant state-owned bank, later this year to help finance a state budget deficit estimated at 1.9 percent of gross domestic product. Some 30 percent of the shares in the bank would be sold to the public investors.