A consortium of Northstar Pacific Partners and Saratoga Capital has defeated state-owned PT Pertamina in the sweepstakes to take hold of PT Tridaya Esta’s 37.2 percent sake of the integrated oil and gas service company PT Elnusa.
The announcement ended weeks of speculation and heated debate within Pertamina, with the board of directors eager to buy the Elnusa shares at a 30 percent premium to the market price. However, the state energy company was forced to backtrack and revise down its bid following pressure from Pertamina commissioners and the government.
Tridaya is widely believed to be owned by Bambang Trihatmodjo, a son of the late President Suharto. A local construction and general trading company, Tridaya bought the Elnusa shares from Pertamina in early 1997.
“After evaluating the proposals that we have received for the 37.2 percent stake in Elnusa, we hereby state that Tridaya Esta will further negotiate with the Northstar-Saratoga consortium, which has been declared as the preferred bidder,” Bahana Securities, Tridaya’s financial adviser, said in press statement.
Bahana is acting as Tridaya’s financial adviser for the stake sale. The deal is expected to be completed within eight to 19 weeks.
Although Bahana declined to provide the winning bid price, a source close to the deal told the Jakarta Globe that Northstar-Saratoga bid Rp 425 (4 cents) per share, a 4.9 percent premium to Thursday’s closing price of Rp 405 and 49.6 percent higher than the stock’s three-month average of Rp 284.
“I can only say thanks to God,” said Sandiaga Uno, managing director of Saratoga Capital, declining further comment.
Saratoga is controlled by Edwin Soeryadjaya, one of the country’s richest men and the son of William Soeryadjaya, the founder of the Astra conglomerate. Edwin is also the president commissioner of PT Adaro Indonesia, one of the country’s biggest coal companies.
Elnusa was listed on Feb. 6, 2008, on the Indonesia Stock Exchange with an initial price of Rp 400. The stock then dropped significantly in line with the sharp fall in stocks worldwide, but has rebounded since mid-April on news of Tridaya’s stake sale.
Elnusa is estimated to control as much as 80 percent of the country’s geological surveying services market and carries out drilling to measure whether extraction of reserves is feasible. Market analysts say that by controlling the industry, Elnusa would have served as a strong complement to Pertamina’s upstream oil and gas business.
Pertamina remains Elnusa’s largest shareholder at 41.1 percent, with the remainder held by individual investors.
“It was our best offer, in terms of financing and investment planning,” said Basuki Trikora Putra, Pertamina’s vice president of communications. “If Northstar-Saratoga rated Elnusa higher and considers it to have bright prospects, it was fair for them to give the better offer.”
Pri Agung Rahmanto, an energy analyst at the Reforminer Institute, said he didn’t see the sale as big loss for Pertamina.
“Pertamina will still have the majority stake in Elnusa,” he said. “Pertamina can better use its funds to develop its upstream sector and ramp up its oil production.”