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“We are happy with QTel’s plan to increase its stake in Indosat.”: Legal Action Continued Against Die Hard Cheater Singaporeans ST Telemedia

JAKARTA — Qatar Telecom will go ahead with an offer to raise its stake in PT Indosat Tbk, Indonesia’s second-largest mobile operator, even though the competition watchdog said the deal violated a court ruling.

Qatar Telecom (QTel) said on Saturday it would buy Singapore Technology Telemedia’s entire $1.35 billion stake in Indosat, which when added to its existing 10 per cent would give it a 40.8 per cent stake worth $1.8 billion, exceeding the level specified by a court ruling last month.

Indonesia has been courting more Middle Eastern investors by introducing laws on sharia-compliant investments.

Qatar Telecom’s deal, which has the Indonesian government’s blessing, would be the second major recent Middle Eastern investment after Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) paid $438 million for a 16 per cent stake in Indonesia’s third-biggest mobile phone firm, PT Excelcomindo Pratama Tbk, in December.

Tender launch: Pending clearance by Indonesian regulators, Qatar Telecom will launch a tender offer for the remaining Indosat shares.

The sale by ST Telemedia, owned by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings, comes almost a month after it lost an appeal in an Indonesian court against an earlier antitrust ruling.

Temasek, through Singapore Telecommunications Ltd, also holds 35 per cent of PT Telekomunikasi Selular (Telkomsel), Indonesia’s largest mobile phone operator.

The Singapore state investor has denied engaging in anti-competitive behaviour, saying its affiliates owned minority stakes in both mobile operators.

An Indonesian district court on May 9 ordered Temasek and its affiliates to sell their holdings in either Telkomsel or Indosat, upholding an earlier ruling by KPPU, the country’s antitrust body.

The ruling said Temasek should sell its stake to a number of investors that are not affiliated to each other, and each buyer could acquire only a maximum 10 per cent.

“The offer to ST Telemedia is unconditional. We have no order from any court preventing us from doing this transaction,” Jeremy Sell, head of business development of Qatar Telecom, told a news conference.

Qatar Telecom Chairman Abdullah bin Saud Al Thani said the firm would abide by the outcome of court rulings on the ongoing legal process.

Legal saga: Indonesian State Enterprises Minister Sofyan Djalil told reporters the government would not stand in the way of the Middle Eastern investor.

“We are happy with QTel’s plan to increase its stake in Indosat.”

The minister said it could open more doors for Middle Eastern investors to come to Indonesia.

The Indonesian government controls around 15 per cent of Indosat and has a “golden share” that allows it to veto any significant resolutions on grounds of national interest.

But Syamsul Maarif, Chairman of KPPU, said the agency may take legal action against ST Telemedia as the transaction ”contravenes the court ruling.”


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