Photographer: Dimas Ardian/Bloomberg

Private Equity Firms Are Battling for Control of an Indonesian Lender

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Private equity firms including Warburg Pincus are vying with suitors across Asia for control of a TPG-backed Indonesian consumer finance company, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Taiwan’s Cathay Financial Holding Co. and South Korea’s Shinhan Financial Group Co. are among first-round bidders for a stake in PT BFI Finance Indonesia, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the details are private. Bloomberg News was first to report in September that Trinugraha Capital, whose investors include TPG, is seeking a sale of its 43 percent holding.

BFI Finance has also attracted interest from Baring Private Equity Asia, the people said. Trinugraha Capital has received at least 10 bids for the stake, according to the people. 

Shares of BFI Finance have more than doubled over the past year, giving the Jakarta-based firm a market value of $986 million. The benchmark Jakarta Stock Exchange Composite Index, which hit a record high last month, rose about 20 percent over the same period.

Used Automobiles

Foreign financial firms have been drawn to Indonesia’s rapid economic growth and the size of its population. Any deal for BFI Finance would add to the $8.5 billion of announced acquisitions in Indonesia in the past 12 months, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. agreed in December to buy a $1.2 billion stake in PT Bank Danamon Indonesia.

Trinugraha Capital’s other investors include Southeast Asian buyout firm Northstar Group and Indonesian businessman Garibaldi Thohir. It hopes to choose a winning bidder around mid-year, one of the people said.

Representatives for Baring Private Equity Asia, BFI, Cathay Financial, Northstar, Shinhan Financial, TPG and Warburg declined to comment. Thohir said in a mobile phone text message that he wasn’t aware of any deal.

Most of BFI Finance’s business is financing purchases of used automobiles. The company, founded in 1982, also makes loans to buyers of heavy equipment, trucks and industrial machinery. It has 218 branches and 124 kiosks spread over 33 of Indonesia’s 34 provinces, BFI Finance’s website shows.

— With assistance by Takako Taniguchi, Kyungji Cho, and Cathy Chan

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