Thu, 18 Mar 2010

From: The Jakarta Globe

By Irvan Tisnabudi & Camelia Pasandaran
Four Australian companies have agreed to invest a combined total of more than $1 billion in Indonesia this year, Gita Wirjawan, chairman of the Investment Coordinating Board, said on Wednesday.

Gita, who had just returned from Australia, said the companies were Coca-Cola Amatil, mining and construction company Thiess, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Ramsay Health Care, Australia’s largest private hospital group.

Gita said Coca-Cola Amatil, the main Coca-Cola licensee in Australia, was planning to build two factories in Indonesia.

Coca-Cola Amatil did not respond to inquiries from the Jakarta Globe.

Thiess, already involved in the Indonesian mining sector, was prepared to start construction of two sections of the Trans-Java toll road, Gita said.

Thiess’s local subsidiary, PT Thiess Contractors Indonesia, was awarded 35-year concessions to build and operate the 69.2-kilometer Solo-Mantingan-Ngawi and the 49.5-kilometer Ngawi-Kertosono sections of the toll road in November 2008 but has yet to start construction.

“Thiess remains enthusiastic and positive about completing the concession agreements and continuing to work with the BPJT [Toll Road Regulatory Agency] toward a conclusion,” Thiess chief executive Bruce Munro told the Jakarta Globe.

Gita said Commonwealth Bank of Australia was planning to expand its current 74-branch network in Indonesia. “They want to expand organically by opening up new branches,” he said.

He said Ramsay Health Care was planning to open a fourth hospital in Indonesia. It already operates three hospitals in the country: RS Mitra Internasional Jakarta, RS Internasional Bintaro in Tangerang and RS Surabaya Internasional.

Coordinating Minister for the Economy Hatta Rajasa said the chief executives of the four Australian companies had been in discussions with the government about their investment plans.

“It is for sure that the [combined] value of the investment is more than $1 billion,” he said.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said increased foreign investment was one of the major factors that would drive the domestic economy to meet the government’s target and grow by 5.5 percent this year.

Last year, the economy grew by 4.5 percent.