Govt to sell shares in Merpati arilines

Govt to sell shares in Merpati arilines

Pesawat Merpati Nusantara Airlines (FOTO ANTARA/Eric Ireng)

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The government will sell its shares in PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines to strategic investors to salvage the company, state enterprises minister Dahlan Iskan said here on Thursday.

"The option is taken because the restructuring efforts so far have given no good results," the minister said before attending a working meeting with House Commission VI on partnership and environment development programs.

He said the decision was taken in a leadership meeting of the state enterprises ministry at the office of the coordinating minister of economic affairs that day.

He said investors who are interested are invited to submit their proposals directly to the state enterprises ministry as Merpati`s shareholder.

He said interested investors are requested to also present their ideas for salvaging the state-owned airline company in their proposals.

In its efforts to salvage the airline company the state enterprises ministry has so far injected funds, reduced staff, moved the company`s headquarters and restructured the company`s debts to private creditors through a debt to equity swap deal.

At the end of December 2011 Merpati received a funds injection of Rp561 billion from the national budget but the second injection worth Rp250 billion in 2012 had not yet been realized until now.

The state enterprises ministry had even set up a restructuring team but it was still unable to develop the company.

Merpati has to pay debts to many companies including PT Pertamina, PT Angkasa Pura I, PT Angkasa Pura II and PT Perusahaan Pengelola Aset.

It also has obligations under a subsidiary loan agreement with the government and to private parties and lessors.

Dahlan admitted that the company was in crisis with its debts reaching around Rp6 trillion.

It was reported before that a toll road development company was interested to buy Merpati`s shares.

"But after we checked no letter or proposal to that effect had been sent to us," he said.

In view of that Dahlan said he would wait for an investor who is really interested in the company.

"Whoever it is, local or foreign company, please come. Any company not necessarily an airline company or regardless of its business line is welcome," he said.

The minister said that this would be the last resort to salvage the company. "If no investor is interested Merpati has to be liquidated," he said.

He however also admitted that he was still thinking of possible other options such as stopping Merpati`s airline business but continuing its Merpati Maintenance Facility business.

"Its aircraft maintenance business is very prospective because of the company has good human resources. So, the business could still be developed as a separate business to avoid liquidation," he said.

So, later Merpati will no longer be involved in flight service (aeronautic) but in non-aeronautic business.

"But that is only an idea. It may still change in line with the development in the handling of Merpati`s problems," he said.

(Reporting by Royke Sinaga)