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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     1 November  2011

Indonesian companies prosper

Several of the country’s most valuable companies have reported stellar performances in the first nine months of the year, thanks largely to increased consumer purchasing power.

Astra International, Bank Mandiri and Medco Energi International, the largest listed oil company, announced rising profits.

Astra International, the largest auto distributor, on Monday reported a 30 percent increase in net income to Rp 13.4 trillion ($1.5 billion), from Rp 10.4 trillion. Net revenue, it said, grew by 27 percent.

The company has six business divisions —  automotive, financial services, heavy equipment and mining, agribusiness, infrastructure and logistics, and information technology.

Rising profits at the Jakarta-based company were driven by strong automotive sales, which contributed 46 percent of its total net profit.

Shares of Astra fell 1.29 percent to Rp 69,000 on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) on Monday. The shares have risen 26.5 percent this year. The profit report was made after markets closed.

Separately on Monday, Bank Mandiri, Indonesia’s largest lender, announced a 44 percent surge in profit to Rp 9.4 trillion in the first nine months of the year.

Net interest income, or interest earned on loans after deducting interest to depositors, rose to Rp 18.72 trillion.

Mandiri, which was created by the merger of four state lenders in 2000, joined a host of other banks in announcing solid earnings for the first nine months of the year.

Bank Rakyat Indonesia, Bank Negara Indonesia and Bank Central Asia all reported rising net income last week as the country’s consumers and corporations benefit from low borrowing costs. Bank Indonesia cut its policy rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 6.5 percent in early October to spur growth.

The government has forecast the country’s economy will expand by 6.6 percent this year.

Elsewhere, Medco Energi International, the largest listed oil producer, saw profits grow by 13 percent from January to September to $20.3 million.

Its average oil price in the January to September period was $113.9 per barrel, significantly higher than last year, when it was $79.4 per barrel.

Shares of Medco, which have fallen 31.1 percent this year, jumped 3.33 percent to Rp 2,325 on the IDX on Monday.

Gudang Garam, the nation’s second-largest cigarette maker, reported a 26 percent growth in profit to Rp 3.8 trillion as of September this year from Rp 3 trillion a year earlier. Its net sales during the period were up 11 percent to Rp 30.57 trillion.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

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.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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