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Indonesia's Bumi Resources Minerals says nearing sale of stake in mine

[JAKARTA] Indonesian miner PT Bumi Resources Minerals Tbk (BRMS) said it is hoping to finalise a sale of its stake in the operator of the country's second-biggest copper and gold mine, adding that several suitors were conducting due diligence.

A company controlled by BRMS has a 24 per cent stake in the mine operator, Newmont Nusa Tenggara. Other shareholders include a joint venture between Newmont Mining Corp of the United States and Japanese trading house Sumitomo Corp as well as Indonesian companies.

The sale would go towards paying down some of BRMS' debt, company spokesman Herwin Hidayat said, adding that financial terms including the value of the deal were still under discussion.

He declined to identify the suitors.

Prominent Indonesian businessman Arifin Panigoro has said he and some partners are interested in buying control of Newmont Nusa Tenggara.

An official at the state enterprises ministry said last month that several state-controlled miners were also interested in teaming up with Panigoro and his partners to buy the stake.

Potentially complicating matters, an Indonesian businessman had filed a request with a Jakarta court to freeze a 17.8 per cent stake in Newmont Nusa Tenggara held by local company PT Pukuafu Indah.

Bumi Resources Minerals had total debt of US$653.7 million as of September, Thomson Reuters data showed.

BRMS shares surged as much as 11.8 per cent in early trading, but later gave up their gains. The broader Jakarta stock exchange fell 0.9 per cent after official data showed that Indonesia's economy grew at a slower-than-expected pace in the first quarter.

REUTERS