Astro claims for failed Indo venture

Astro All-Asia Networks wants RMB905 million (US$259 million) in compensation from its erstwhie joint venture partner in Indonesia, PT Ayunda Prima Mitra, backed by the Lippo Group.

Astro and PT APM failed to agree terms for their pay-TV venture, PT Drect Vision and a trademark agreement has now expired, although Astro has granted “goodwill” extensions.

In a statement, Astro said: “PT APM has previously acknowledged in writing that the parties had failed to reach agreement, but recently has changed its position and asserted that the parties are bound to one another in a joint venture for PT DV.

“We wish to announce that Astro has on 6 October 2008 filed a Notice of Arbitration at the Singapore International Arbitration Centre to commence arbitration proceedings naming as respondents PT APM, PT FM and PT DV (collectively, “the Respondents”). Astro is seeking certain declaratory and injunctive relief and also seeks monetary compensation of approximately RM905 million in relation to the parties’ failure to conclude the joint venture.”

The compensation reflects the cost to Astro in “support and services” which the company gave to PT Direct Vision. As well as using the Astro brand, PT DV used Astro cash and has had to write off over RMB700 million in connection with the failed venture.