Dow Jones Newswires writes that Indonesian telecommunications, infrastructure, property and oil conglomerate, PT Bakrie & Brothers, along with several other shareholders, is looking to offload a combined 30% stake in national mobile operator Bakrie Telecom to repay debt. According to a senior official at Bakrie Group, Nirwan Dermawan Bakrie, talks have begun with a number of possible suitors to gauge interest in a potential deal. The official suggested SK Telecom of South Korea as one potential partner, although the Seoul-based group has denied holding any talks about a stake purchase.
PT Bakrie & Brothers currently holds a 17.56% stake in Bakrie Telecom, but needs to sell off some assets to help refinance a USD1.3 billion loan to Credit Suisse. For its part, Bakrie Telecom CEO Anindya Bakrie has said that the company is ‘always open to talks with any parties to expand [its] business.’ The telco booked net losses of IDR498.34 billion (USD55.8 million) in 9M11, reversing a net profit of IDR148.59 billion in 9M10 as higher operating expenses weighed on its bottom line. The stimulus provided by a new strategic partner could be the shot in the arm the operator needs to turn round its flagging financial performance.