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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs     5 October  2011                    

Australians urged to invest in Indonesia

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Australian investors have been urged to plow their funds into Indonesia’s rapidly growing resources and energy sector.

An investment seminar on Tuesday, organized by Australia-based bank ANZ, gave Indonesian companies an opportunity to sell themselves to potential investors.

Joseph Abraham, the president director of ANZ’s Indonesian unit, ANZ Panin, said the large commodity sector in both countries meant there were opportunities for shared expertise and capital.

“Indonesia is a natural magnet for foreign direct investment. Now we have to make sure that we maintain that,” Abraham said.

He said that with Indonesia’s strong economic fundamentals, as well as new government regulations in the works that will require the processing of raw materials prior to export, “Indonesia is a ready field for more investment.’’

Indonesian companies — including state gold and nickel producer Aneka Tambang, state gas firm Perusahaan Gas Negara and its state electricity counterpart Perusahaan Listrik Negara — were present at the seminar promoting greater investment in the archipelago.

Speaking after the forum, Antam chief financial officer Djaja Tambunan said that once the 2014 ban on raw commodity shipments came into effect, foreigners could no longer buy nickel ore.

“One way to ensure continuity in the supply of the commodity is to invest,” he said.

Antam plans to build ferronickel plans in Maluku and North Maluku, as well as a nickel pig iron plant in Maluku. It needs $1 billion to finance its expansion this year, Djaja said.

He said the company was in search of a partner for an alumina smelter in Maluku and had received offers from companies in Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and Europe.

The company said late last month that it would sell $150 million of bonds in November.

PGN director Wahid Sutopo said that a precondition of foreign investment in the company was that the Indonesian government — which will likely remain the controlling shareholder — needed to ensure a stable supply of natural gas from producers including ConocoPhillips, Pertamina and Medco.

Wahid said he was communicating his concerns on the issue to government.

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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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