Sat, 29 Apr 2000

Astra International earns Rp 1.5t in 1999

JAKARTA (JP): Publicly listed automotive giant PT Astra International said on Friday it registered net income of Rp 1.5 trillion last year (US$192 million at the current rate), compared to a net loss of Rp 3.7 trillion the previous year.

It said last year's net income was the highest it achieved since it posted Rp 469 billion in 1996.

Company president T.P. "Teddy" Rachmat attributed last year's results mainly to the country's nascent economic recovery, which boosted domestic vehicle sales.

"The recovery in the domestic car market this year is clearly seen in the steady increase in the demand of cars," Teddy Rachmat said.

Consolidated revenues reached Rp 15 trillion, a 34 percent increase from Rp 11.3 trillion posted in 1998.

The increasing revenues were boosted by soaring sales of cars, from 40,660 in 1998 to 76,079 in 1999.

Sales of Astra's motorbikes under the Honda brand also increased last year to 275,195 from 265,104 in the previous year.

Revenues from spare parts and components sales also increased to reach Rp 1.4 trillion last year from Rp 1.1 trillion in 1998.

Astra said improved demand for cars contributed to the increase in the operational revenues, which reached Rp 2.4 trillion last year, compared to Rp 1.3 trillion the previous year.

The strengthening of the rupiah to the U.S. dollar from Rp 8,025 at the end of 1998 to Rp 7,100 at the end of 1999, as well as the decline of domestic interest rates boosted the company's financial standing in 1999.

The company's foreign exchange and interest spending dropped drastically from Rp 7.3 trillion in 1998 to Rp 649 billion in 1999.

Astra said its gross profit margin returned to the precrisis level at 22 percent in 1999 from 29 percent in 1998.

The improved financial indicators came after Astra succeeded in finalizing its debt restructuring program.

It is optimistic about the future as the economy continues to recover from its worse crisis in recent years.

Teddy said his company sold 50,750 vehicles as of the first quarter this year alone, compared to 51,517 in the third quarter last year.

Singapore's automotive distributor Cycle & Carriage Ltd. (CCL) led a consortium in buying 39.5 percent of Astra from the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA) in bidding late March.

The consortium includes Batavia Investment Management Ltd., Lazard Asia Fund, a unit of Lazard Freres, PT Bhakti Investama and the Government of Singapore Investment Corp. (cst)