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Bakrie family risks losing stake in business over a $1.3 billion loan

By Giulia Cambieri

Indonesia's Bakrie family risks losing control of coalminer Bumi plc, with reports suggesting the family is considering selling its stake to repay a $1.3 billion (€964 million) loan to a syndicate led by Credit Suisse.

According to the Financial Times, the family may sell all or part of its 47% stake in Bumi in order to repay a $1.3 billion loan the company used to consolidate its debt before being listed on the London Stock Exchange in April 2011.

At the time of the initial public offering, the Bakries agreed a loan with Zurich-based bank Credit Suisse, which granted the lenders a share pledge in the form of a mortgage over all of the ordinary shares that the family holds in the company.

However, the Bumi share price fell by 48% since April.

In addition, analysts are worried that even by selling their other businesses in Indonesia – such as palm oil plantations, television broadcasters and property –the Bakrie family may not be able to repay the loan.

As a result, lenders in the Credit Suisse-led syndicate asked the Bakrie family to repay the loan “in the near future”, Bumi said in a statement released on 4 October.

"They don't have $1.34 billion in their account," a source told the Financial Times, raising concerns over the possibility that the family could be forced to sell its stake in the company.

When contacted, both Bumi and Credit Suisse said they had nothing further to add.

The Bakrie family's holding company, the Bakrie Group, was founded in 1942, and is run by second-generation Nirwan Bakrie and his family.