Thu, 27 Apr 2000

IBRA loses new bankruptcy case against Ometraco

JAKARTA (JP): The Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA) lost another legal battle in the Jakarta Commercial Court, which dismissed the agency's bankruptcy suit against PT Ometraco Corporation on Wednesday.

"PT Ometraco Corporation is in the liquidation process following a bankruptcy granted by the South Jakarta District Court, so it cannot be declared bankrupt again here," presiding judge Mahdi Soroindah Nasution told the courtroom.

Ometraco declared bankruptcy in early April and registered a self-liquidation notice with the South Jakarta District Court.

The company is now being liquidated, a process being administered by a private receiver that was appointed by the company's shareholders.

The lawyer representing IBRA, Benny K. Harman, said under the existing law, Ometraco's self-liquidation status as granted by the South Jakarta court was not binding to third parties until the company's shareholders approved the liquidation. Thus, the company must hold a shareholders meeting to receive approval for the move, he said.

Until the approval is secured, Ometraco's "temporary" liquidation status can be revoked if there is a third party which objects to the status, according to Benny.

"Ometraco's operating license (registered at the Ministry of Industry and Trade) and legal status as an entity (at the Ministry of Law and Legislation) have not yet been written off, so it can still be declared bankrupt by the Commercial Court," Benny said.

"We have sent a letter objecting Ometraco's self-bankruptcy petition at the South Jakarta court to the Ministry of Industry and Trade and to the Ministry of Law and Legislation," he added.

Presiding judge Mahdi Soroindah refused to address the issue of Ometraco's liquidation status, saying it was beyond the Commercial Court's authority.

Ometraco, which was involved in banks, property and telecommunications, owes IBRA US$53.18 million.

Two previous bankruptcy suits filed by IBRA earlier this year against trading firm PT Tirtamas Comexindo and PT West Kalindo were also dismissed.

Since its establishment in early 1998, the Commercial Court has declared dozens of companies bankrupt, but most of these were small companies, while larger companies have fared better.

Analysts suspect big companies use their financial resources to influence the court's verdict.

Meanwhile at a separate hearing at the Jakarta Commercial Court on Wednesday, majority creditors of the now insolvent PT Fiskaragung Perkasa failed in their attempt to have the court cancel the $3 million loan agreement between the salt producer and its Hong Kong creditor, Catnera International Ltd.

The majority shareholders alleged the loan agreement, signed less than a year ago, was illegal because Fiskaragung and Catnera were affiliated and the agreement was reached in bad faith. (udi)