Mon, 01 Mar 1999

$32m German Center inaugurated at BSD

TANGERANG (JP): Visiting Baden-Wurttemberg Prime Minister Erwin Teufel from Germany inaugurated the German Center at the Bumi Serpong Damai housing and business complex here in a ceremony attended by President B.J. Habibie and other senior officials on Sunday.

Designed as an ideal arena and meeting place for Indonesian and German businesses, the eight-story building -- called the German House -- cost US$32 million to build.

The inauguration ceremony was also attended Germany's Minister for Economics and Technology Affairs Werner Mller and Indonesian Minister of Industry and Trade Rahardi Ramelan.

Like Teufel, Habibie delivered his speech in German after asking permission from the more than 500 guests to honor the visiting Germans.

"I was informed that the center aims to assist the restoration of the Indonesian economy, which is at present encountering a crisis," he said.

Habibie extended his appreciation and gratitude, saying that the realization of the German House would not only benefit Germany, but also Indonesia.

He hoped that the center would provide the private sectors of both countries the opportunity to promote further cooperation.

"This cooperation should create equal opportunities for the business communities to develop their undertakings, in which their active roles are in high demand in order to cope with the crisis," Habibie, who spent over 19 years in Germany, said.

Indonesia, he added, had adopted an economic policy similar to Germany's, namely the development of small and medium enterprises and cooperatives.

"When I lived and worked in Germany, I was able to look closely and see that the backbone of the German economy is essentially this very sector," he said.

With the assistance of the German House, Indonesian small and medium enterprises "can enter a market a long way from their patrons in Indonesia", said Habibie, who spent almost three hours at the ceremony.

Construction on the building, which stands on a 15,000 square meter plot, began in May 1997.

The building was constructed by PT Econ Construction under the supervision of ICM of Germany. At least 50 percent of the materials used for the building were shipped from Germany.

So far, some 22 percent of the 17,174 square meters of total building space have been occupied by 16 tenants.

The center's president, Jochen Sautter, earlier said that 34 companies -- 22 Indonesian firms, 10 German companies and two companies from Singapore -- had signed up for space in the building.

The local firms occupying space in the building include Bank Bali, PT Asuransi Allians Utama Indo and NV Djawa Indah. Among the German companies occupying space in the building are Korsch Pressen GmbH, Roedl & Partner, Stenbrenner Import & Export and Tamprogge GmbH.

The Singapore businesses in the building are Rinol Asit Pte. Ltd. and Klockner Moeller Asia.

"The German Center has introduced new rental terms in line with general market trends in Greater Jakarta," Sautter said.

He said the center leased space in U.S. dollar-denominated rates which would be pegged to a predetermined rupiah conversion rate.

The building is equipped with a business center, conference and presentation rooms, a media center with satellite and internet facilities, a restaurant and a pub.

Similar German centers already operate in several cities around the world, including Singapore, Beijing, Yokohama and Shanghai.

The next center will be built in Mexico and is scheduled to be completed sometime next year. (jun)