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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        23  February 2011

Lotte to build petrochemical project in Indonesia

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South Korea’s Lotte Group is planning to invest up to $5 billion in a petrochemical project in Banten province, Indonesia, with construction expected to start next year.

“We will start the feasibility study to develop a petrochemical project in Merak, Banten province, this year. The investment is estimated to cost between $3 billion to $5 billion,” Lotte chairman Shin Dong-bin told reporters after meeting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Shin said the group was expecting to start the construction of the plant next year and finish within four to five years.

Gita Wiryawan, chairman of Indonesia Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), praised Lotte’s plan, saying that “Lotte has been investing in Indonesia, in the retail sector, duty free. It’s great that they are expanding here.’’

Gita added that Lotte would also launch Lotteria, a fast-food chain, in Indonesia.

Lotte has also recently stated its interest in acquiring a stake in Matahari Putra Prima, Indonesia’s largest retailer by market value, through its retail subsidiary. The deal was turned down by Matahari because Lotte’s offer was too low.

Last week, Indonesian ministers flew to Seoul, meeting with President Lee Myung-bak to ask South Korean companies to invest in Indonesia. South Korean firms were said to be interested in investing as much as $20 billion in various infrastructure sectors in Indonesia.

Indonesia is trying to entice more foreign investors to help meet Yudhoyono’s target of an average annual growth rate of 6.6 percent over the remainder of his presidential second term, which will end in 2014.

The country is targeting total realized investment to rise to 230 trillion rupiah this year from 208.5 trillion rupiah last year, Gita said in January.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

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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