Saturday April 27, 2013

Astro shares rise despite RM62bil claim

PETALING JAYA: Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd’s shares closed the day up eight sen to RM2.95 on a volume of 14.4 million shares despite being served a statement of claim for US$20bil (RM62bil) by PT Direct Vision (PTDV) of Indonesia.

The PTDV civil suit was for an unlawful act supposedly committed by Astro All Asia Networks Ltd (AAAN), Astro Overseas Ltd and certain of their affiliated companies (which are not part of the Astro Malaysia group), certain individuals as well as Measat Broadcast Network Systems Sdn Bhd (MBNS).

The suit comes on the heels of a dispute that arose in 2008 over a proposed direct-to-home pay-TV business in Indonesia. PTDV is claiming the US$20bil for “immaterial loss” resulting from the dispute.

Astro, subsequent to being advised by Indonesian lawyers, is of the view that PTDV’s claim against MBNS is not supported with valid grounds, and that the quantum of damages sought is unjustifiable.

“The company wishes to further clarify that the claim by PTDV is in relation to and stems from an ongoing dispute in relation to the proposed Indonesian joint venture, which has been the subject of past litigation and arbitration proceedings since 2008,” said Astro.

The pay-TV giant added that the arbitration proceedings, which were commenced in Singapore under the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC) rules, concluded in favour of both MBNS and AAAN in final and binding SIAC awards amounting to approximately US$303mil (RM939.3mil).

“The sums awarded in the SIAC awards have not been paid by any of the award debtors, including PTDV. The SIAC awards are valid, binding and conclusive in terms of their existence and legal effect against PTDV, as PTDV did not apply to set aside or challenge the enforceability of the awards in Singapore,” said Astro.

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