Jakarta – Indonesian authorities have confiscated land and property assets from textile firm Texmaco Group, after the company failed to repay more than US$2 billion in debt since the late 1990s, the country's finance minister said on Thursday.
The seizure was the latest by a government task force that is going after a total of US$8 billion of bailout given to bank owners and borrowers during the Asian financial crisis in 1997 and 1998.
The Texmaco Group, owned by Marimutu Sinivasan, has an outstanding debt to the state totalling more than US$2 billion, having defaulted on loans to several banks that were bailed out during the financial crisis, minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said.
Texmaco and Sinivasan were not immediately available for comment, but earlier this month, the businessman told local media he had offered to repay his debt to the state in the next seven years, although he claimed his outstanding debt amounted to just 8 trillion rupiah (US$561.52 million)
Sri Mulyani said Texmaco had previously agreed with the government how much it owed and promised to pay up by issuing exchangeable bonds, but it had defaulted on the notes since 2004. Since then, it had sued the government and sold assets without repaying the debt, she said.
"The government has opened many opportunities...but there have been no sign (Texmaco) showed any intent to pay," Sri Mulyani said.
"Today, we are confiscating these assets and this is part of our asset recovery, even though small," she added.
In total, the government took over nearly 5 million square metres (500 hectares) of land assets in four provinces and two schools owned by Texmaco, which the government will ensure keep operating.
The so-called "BLBI" task force last month seized land assets linked to an automaker company owned by the youngest son of late president Suharto, Hutomo "Tommy" Mandala Putra. Tommy has since told local media he would take legal actions against authorities.
[Reporting by Stanley Widianto; Editing by Gayatri Suroyo, Ed Davies.]