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Garibaldi Thohir and Northstar Pacific Take Over 35% of Hutchison Tri

Bambang Dwi Atmoko - 26 February 2013

A surprising news came out of the telecommunications industry the other day. There’s been a significant change in the ownership of Hutchison CP Telecommunications (HCPT), otherwise known as Tri. Two Indonesian tycoons, coal magnate Garibaldi Thohir and Patrick Waluyo from Northstar Pacific Indonesia is taking over the 35% ownership of the company which was previously held by Thailand’s Charoen Pokphand.

The Jakarta Post reports that Bhuwan Kulshreshtha, commercial head of HCPT announced the corporate move last Friday. Kulshreshtha explains that the new ownership is split between Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa Limited which controls 65% of the company and the group led by Thohir and Waluyo which holds 35%. No further details are yet to be available as Kontan daily reports that the process is in the final stages. This includes changing the name of the company from PT Hutchison CP Telecommunications to PT Hutchison 3 Indonesia.

The reason behind the group’s acquisition of HCPT’s shares is still undisclosed. Kontan daily speculates that it could be a profit-taking move due to the upcoming list of negative investment industries which very likely will include the telecommunications sector. The policy states that foreign entity ownership in a national telecommunications company is limited to 65%. The rest must be held by local investors. Regardless of the reason, this will only increase Thohir’s already expansive business reach. The man who is often called Boy  is one of the 28 richest Indonesians according to Forbes magazine.

Boy Thohir built his family business under holding company PT Trinugraha Thohir. His business is diversified across various industries including coal through Adaro Energy, Trinugraha Food Industri (Hanamasa, Pronto, meat factory), investment company Surya Eka Perkasa, motorcycle dealership Wahana Makmur Sejati, as well as media group Mahaka Media (Republika, GenFM, JakTV, Alif TV, and Raja Karcis).

Patrick Waluyo, the son in law of one of the country’s richest men, owner of the Triputra Group, TP Rachmat, took over the majority share of Trimegah Securities through a Northstar Pacific subsidiary Advance Wealth Finance Ltd. He also has shares in PT Samudera Energy, coal mining company PT Delta Dunia Makmur, PT Equator Securities, and PT Adaro Energy.

For Tri, this acquisition will not change its business plans in the telecommunications industry. The carrier is even aiming to be he leader in 3G data provider, although this seems to be a little too ambitious considering that the company currently holds 10% of the cellular market with roughly 21 million subscribers.

Ahead of Tri are Telkomsel with 120 million subscribers (50 million data users), Indosat with 55.5 million subscribers (11.1 million data users), and XL Axiata with 42 million subscribers (25 million data users). In other words, the top three operators control around 70% market share. All this without even considering that there Indonesian telecommunications industry has reached a saturation point with SIM card distribution has exceeded the total population of 240 million.

At the very least, the entrance of Garibaldi Thohir and Northstar will inject new blood to drive the company further. This can be a source of pride for Indonesians as even though it’s not a majority share, Indonesians are part owners of the company.

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