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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     11 October  2011                    

Bakrie says it is solvent

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Bakrie & Brothers, the holding company of the Bakrie Group, has denied speculation that the company is unable to pay its debts and is on the verge of default.

Eddy Soeparno, Bakrie & Brothers’ finance director, said on Monday that the company was not on the verge of or in default and was considering repaying or restructuring its $597 million loan facility arranged by Credit Suisse “in due course.”

“BNBR is not in default and we are evaluating options to settle our debt,” he said.

Eddy refused to comment on whether Bakrie & Brothers was going to sell its ownership in Bumi Plc to Glencore International, the world’s largest publicly traded commodities supplier, as a way to help settle its debt, which is due in March 2012.

Citing an unnamed source close to the matter, Bisnis Indonesia reported on Monday that Glencore was considering purchasing a minority stake in Bumi Plc through the purchase of $2.01 billion in convertible bonds to be issued by Bumi Plc.

That would serve as the payment for the purchase of a 75.1 percent stake in Bumi Resources Minerals, a subsidiary of coal miner Bumi Resources, the newspaper said.

Dileep Srivastava, Bumi Resources’ investor relations director, said all of the reports were just speculation.

“Bumi Plc is a holding company that owns three of the world’s best thermal coal assets in Indonesia. All are presently outperforming operationally. Therefore, what the family does with their holdings is a non-issue,” he said in a statement.

He said the key issue was the declining economies in the Europe and the United States and had nothing to do with the Bakries or Bumi Resources.

“Because of these assets, international investors in Bumi Plc should be able to weather the market storm better than the others,” Dileep said.

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