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Garuda Indonesia studies two shortlisted offers for stake in low-cost airline

Publication Date : 06-05-2014


National flag carrier PT Garuda Indonesia is reviewing two potential buyers, short-listed from four in February, for a stake in its low-cost carrier unit, Citilink, amid the latter’s losses.

“We want to know how much they’re offering. If it is not as high as we want, we will turn down the offer,” Garuda president director and CEO Emirsyah Syatar said on Monday at the State-Owned Enterprises Ministry.

The State-Owned Enterprises Ministry deputy for financial, construction and other services, Gatot Trihargo, said on Monday that he supported Garuda’s move to sell part of its stake in Citilink to ease the company’s burden resulting from the low-cost carrier.

It is reported that Garuda appointed Standard Chartered Securities as its financial advisor in reviewing the potential investors.

Garuda decided in February to sell between 40 and 49 per cent of its stake in Citilink after the latter’s losses last year, with Garuda remaining as the major shareholder.

Citilink recorded revenue of US$273 million and suffered losses of $48.48 million last year.

Universal Broker Indonesia analyst Satrio Utomo said that Garuda likely prioritised its full-service unit (Garuda) as Citilink had been affecting the profitability of Garuda on routes the two airlines shared.

The fate of Citilink would very much depend on the future business strategy in the low-cost carrier market after the disposal, he said.

Citilink CEO Arif Wibowo previously said that the carrier aimed to carry 8.5 million passengers this year and to increase the number of its international flights by 20 per cent by 2018.

The airline’s total number of passengers increased to 5.4 million last year, almost double the 2.8 million passengers in 2012.

The Centre for Aviation (CAPA) estimates that low-cost carrier Lion Air dominated the country’s air travel market last year, accounting for around 40 per cent of the total number of 93.56 million passengers.

Not only did losses hurt Citilink, but also its parent company, which saw a declining performance due to the weakening of the rupiah last year.

Garuda’s net profit slumped by 89.9 per cent year-on-year to $11.2 million last year from $110.8 million, although its operating revenue increased by 7 per cent to $3.72 billion from $3.47 billion in 2012.

Later on Monday, Garuda signed a sharia financing agreement worth $100 million with private lender Bank Internasional Indonesia (BII) — part of Malaysia’s Maybank — for its business expansion plans this year.

The financing facility will mature after three years and its margin rate is set at the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) plus 4 per cent.

“We have issued debt papers and carried out a rights issue. We are also looking to seal other syndicated loan deals and bilateral deals, and the agreement with BII is part of the latter,” Emirsyah said.

Garuda is looking to add another 27 aircraft to its current fleet of 141 to meet its target of flying at least 28 million passengers this year, from 25 million in 2013.

Garuda said last month that it would need around $300 million to fund its capital expenditure in 2014, including for its subsidiary Citilink.

Meanwhile, BII president director Taswin Zakaria said the sharia financing for Garuda was part of its plan to disburse between 25 per cent and 30 per cent of its corporate loans target — which is set at 30 trillion rupiah ($2.61 billion) — to state-owned enterprises (SOE) this year, through its recently established special loans unit — the SOE unit.

“We’ve already channeled Rp 4 trillion in the first quarter to several SOEs, including to [power firm] Perusahaan Listrik Negara, [oil and gas company] Pertamina and [cement producer] Semen Gresik,” he said.


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