The Setdco Group has announced its intention to buy back the company’s original stake in Indonesian mobile operator Telkomsel, says the Jakarta Post. The group’s chief executive Setiawan Djody says he has the support of major international financial firms in his bid and says that many mistakes were made by the government which resulted in SingTel holding 35% of Telkomsel. Djody is optimistic that SingTel will let him get his shares back at least by the end of this year. If negotiations fail, however, he says he will take the matter to the courts.
Before the Singaporean firm bought shares in the operator Telkomsel was 77.7% owned by state-owned Telkom, with the remainder held by KPN Media – a subsidiary of Netherlands-based KPN International and Setdco, which controlled 17.3% and 5% respectively. KPN Media collapsed following the 1997 financial crisis and its stake was absorbed by the state. In 2001 a 22.3% stake was offered to SingTel via tender and a year later the operator upped its stake in Telkomsel to 35%. Djody claims he participated in the government’s tender to sell its 22.3% interest in Telkomsel but was defeated by SingTel. ‘I offered USD650 million, which was around USD50 million higher than SingTel’s offer, but [even though] I could pay more, SingTel won the bid,’ he said. Djody is now looking to buy back the 5% plus 17.3% originally owned by KPN Media, and is willing to take the matter to court to achieve this.