Tue, 18 Apr 2000

IBRA says S'pore firm must buy BCA shares through IPO

JAKARTA (JP): Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA) deputy chairman Jerry Ng said on Monday the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GSIC) must purchase Bank Central Asia (BCA) shares through the bank's initial public offering (IPO).

Jerry said IBRA would treat GSIC like other potential investors in BCA.

"We have decided that the divestment mechanism will be made through an IPO, so GSIC must purchase shares through (the primary market)," he told The Jakarta Post.

Jerry was responding to reports GSIC had expressed interest in purchasing shares in BCA. His comments were in response to speculation that GSIC might enter BCA through other means, including a private placement mechanism.

GSIC is one of the investors in a consortium led by Singapore auto distribution firm Cycle & Carriage, which recently won a deal to buy IBRA's stake in the publicly listed auto giant PT Astra International.

IBRA controls over 92 percent of BCA, which was nationalized by the government in May 1998 after the bank owners failed to repay debts to the government and the bank was found to have breached legal lending limits.

IBRA plans to divest between 15 percent and 30 percent of its BCA stake, or a maximum of 882.2 million shares, through an IPO on May 19 to May 23.

The BCA IPO is part of efforts by the agency to raise some Rp 18.9 trillion (US$2.54 billion) to help finance the 2000 state budget. All of the proceeds from the IPO will go into the government's coffers.

The indicative IPO price is between Rp 1,350 and Rp 1,750 per share.

"We'll visit GSIC when we hold a road show in Singapore .... We'll treat GSIC the same as we do other investors, like Schroeders and Fidelity," Jerry said referring to international investment banks Schroeders and Fidelity Investment.

IBRA is planning to hold an overseas road show covering major financial markets from April 26 to May 9, with Singapore likely to be the first stop.

The lead underwriters of the BCA IPO are state-owned PT Danareksa Securities and PT Bahana Securities.

According to experts, IBRA wants GSIC to become an "anchor" investor for the BCA IPO.

Asked about the possibility of the IPO price being in the upper range of the indicative price, Jerry said: "I'm always optimistic."

BCA, formed in 1957, was one of the country's largest private banks with total assets of Rp 96.45 trillion as of last year.

The bank has some 795 branches in Indonesia and two overseas branches, and operates 1,858 automatic teller machines.

BCA booked a net profit of Rp 641.29 billion in 1999 compared to a loss of Rp 28.40 trillion in 1998. (rei)