Thursday, November 16, 2006

People behind Free Hold

"They must be kidding with the name. I thought they should have shown at least sensitivity to public over the mudflow disaster," an analyst wrote to me commenting the announcement from PT Energi Mega Persada (EMP) Tbk to sell Lapindo Brantas Inc to Free Hold Group Ltd, a BVI company. Who are the people behind Free Hold?

Well, don't expect a straight answer. Even Bapepam (SEC) is just about to summon EMP management over the plan and hopes to get the answer which they might never get.
"You could pay to get the information from BVI. But I think they could only provide proxy names or law firms who represent the ultimate shareholders. That's the common practice for such vehicles," another analyst said.
Googling? Zero. Asking people at EMP, they would be tight-lipped. How about Bakrie family? The same. The National Team to Handle Lapindo Mud Flow (Timnas Penanggulangan Lumpur Lapindo)? Don't expect! Even though from my opinion organizations like that (plus Bapepam) must know who will be the new ultimate shareholders of Lapindo considering the social & economic responsibilities of the mudflow that already forced more than 10,000 people to leave their homes.
While Vice President Jusuf Kalla once declared that Bakrie Family had promised to take the responsibility, so far we don't know exactly whether the commitment is written or just oral commitment. Since we have so much at stake with the Lapindo issue, we need the written commitment.
I hope that Kalla will comment on the recent development of Lapindo divestment to non-Bakrie family as stated by EMP management.
Without clear legal relationship between Lapindo and Bakrie family (suppose that Free Hold will be confirmed as the new owner), I'm not sure if the nation could ask Bakrie family to stand up with their commitment unless it's stated.
That's probably why VP Jusuf Kalla didn't mention Bakrie family when he said on Friday that whoever own Lapindo, the company should take the responsibility.
To add confusion over the matter, Minarak Labuan Ltd (a company owned by Bakrie family) claimed that it will lend money to Lapindo.
"But I'm afraid President Decree No.13/2006 could secure Lapindo's interest," a respected journalist warned me yesterday.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

In coping with Lapindo, Bakries' oxygen supply is fast diminishing. Lack of oxygen in their name is also causing huge downward tsunamy in the market perception of their monetary values.

Freehold is needed to bring back the Free Oxygen

November 17, 2006 1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as I know, under exisiting capital market laws, Bapepam or teh stock exchange can insist on the beneficial owners being named, and that means teh "natural" people behind teh BVI. Otherwise the deal can be refused.

There needs to be an explanation of the new owners, their financial capacity (why would anyone take that on?) and whether liabilities remain in EMP.

So far ...nothing.

November 17, 2006 2:29 PM  

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