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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs                                 14  September 2011

Goldman, Morgan move on Indonesia

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Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley are each in talks to buy an Indonesian brokerage firm to expand their reach into the booming capital market of Southeast Asia’s biggest economy, sources said.

Goldman is in talks to buy Tiga Pilar Sekuritas and expects to complete the acquisition before the end of 2011 as it aims to start a local brokerage operation next year, two sources with direct knowledge of the deal told Reuters on Monday.

Goldman does not have an underwriting or broking license in Indonesia, while Morgan Stanley secured an underwriting licence in 2008, but is seeking a bigger presence through a full-fledged broker license.

Both banks plan to add research analysts as well as sales and trading staff to the brokerages next year, while Goldman could also add investment bankers, as they seek to win fees from equity offerings and debt deals, the sources said.

“I think this signals a positive view on our capital market ... It has really become an important destination for global investment banks,” said Winston Sual, who manages nearly $1 billion in funds at Panin Sekuritas in Jakarta.

“This will give more competition for fees among global bankers like JPMorgan and Credit Suisse.”

The banks’ plans in Indonesia, which has seen its stock market hit records this year on surging foreign investment, follow moves by Nomura Holdings and Citigroup to ramp up equity research teams in Jakarta this year to challenge leaders Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank.

Investment interest in the G20 member is set to rise again next year, when Indonesia hopes to get an upgrade by Fitch Ratings to an investment grade sovereign rating that will put it alongside top emerging BRIC nations such as Brazil.

Goldman has completed due diligence for Tiga Pilar and both parties are now negotiating the deal structure and valuation, said one of the sources, who all declined to be identified.

“Goldman has already asked Tiga Pilar to start looking for prospective staff and bankers as a precondition before they complete the deal,” said the source. No financial details were immediately available.

Officials at Tiga Pilar and Goldman declined to comment.


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This year in Thailand-what next?

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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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