CDMA operator Bakrie Telecom (BTel) posted a net loss of IDR2.34 trillion (USD172.79 million) for the first six months of this year, up significantly from a loss of IDR315.45 billion in H2 2014, as revenue slumped 70.4% year-on-year to IDR226.20 billion from IDR773.00 billion in the corresponding year-earlier period. In a filing to the Indonesia Stock Exchange, the struggling operator said that total operating expenses rose to IDR1.66 trillion in 1H15, up from IDR898.59 billion the previous year, due to higher depreciation expenses that climbed to IDR1.13 trillion from IDR451.36 billion. The company booked an operating loss of IDR1.43 trillion in January-June 2015, as pre-tax losses spiked at IDR2.28 trillion compared to IDR315.44 billion in the first six months of last year. BTel attributed the sharp increase in losses to a foreign exchange loss of IDR455.56 billion that compared with a FOREX gain of IDR105.90 billion in 1H14.
In June this year TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate reported that Indonesian publicly listed tower operator Solusi Tunas Pratama (STP) was looking to take an equity stake in BTel, as part of the latter’s debt settlement with its creditors. At the time, STP finance director Juliawati Gunawan was quoted as saying that BTel is expected to give up part of its stake to the tower firm ‘as required in a debt postponement petition (i.e. PKPU)’ filed in November 2014. Under the Central Jakarta Commercial Court’s ruling on the PKPU concerning BTel’s debt restructuring, the telco reached agreements with its creditors for the debt-to-equity swap, and whilst the precise details of the deal and size of the stake have not been divulged, Ms Juliawati said: ‘Based on the PKPU, BTel will pay 30% of its debts by cash in a five-year period and the remaining 70% by convertible bonds to be exchanged with its stake.’ Further, it is thought that STP may receive up to IDR406.02 billion from BTel, the amount having been included as a ‘non-current financial asset’ in STP’s latest financial report.
BTel is part of the politically connected Bakrie Group, and owes IDR1.3 trillion to a number of tower companies, including STP. Under the PKPU, BTel is also expected to cede partial ownership to two other tower companies, Tower Bersama Infrastructure and Profesional Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Protelindo), which is a subsidiary of Sarana Menara Nusantara. There have been no further announcements on the debt-to-equity swap plan.