Indonesia's Merpati to start divestment of 49% stake in maintenance unit

Jakarta (Thomson Financial) - Indonesia's state-run PT Merpati Nusantara Airlines said Thursday it will start next month the process of divesting a 49 percent stake in its wholly owned unit, PT Merpati Maintenance Facilities (MMF) International.

MMF is one of the biggest maintenance facilities in Indonesia and is based in Surabaya, East Java. It specializes in narrow-body aircraft and currently serves local and international customers including the Papua New Guinea Air Force, Shaheen Air of Pakistan, Air New Guinea, Cosmic of Nepal and Aegro Inc of Ireland.

Merpati said it aims to initially sell a 30 percent stake by the middle of this year, with the other 19 percent to be sold mid-2009.

Merpati corporate secretary Purwatmo told Thomson Financial that some airlines and non-airline companies from overseas, including Singapore, have expressed interest in buying the stake.

He said Merpati will use proceeds from the stake sale to develop its information technology, purchase tools for maintenance work, and improve quality of its service.

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