Tue, 08 Feb 2000

Chase executive leads investors on Jakarta visit

JAKARTA (JP): New York-based Chase Manhattan Bank is leading a group of institutional investors from the United States, Europe and Asia to look for business opportunities in Indonesia.

Joyce Chang, the bank's managing director for international fixed income, said here on Monday the international investors came to Indonesia to get a better understanding of the domestic political situation.

She said the delegation also came here to get firsthand information about the government's plan to sell assets surrendered by the owners of ailing banks and corporate debtors as repayment of their debts.

The international investors also wanted to learn more about the government's privatization program for state companies during their two-day fact-finding visit, she said.

"We are meeting with a number of corporate executives, independent analysts, IBRA (the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency) and central bank officials," Chang said, adding that it would be a very diverse mixture of meetings with various parties.

The investor group, which arrived here on Monday morning, will end their visit on Tuesday.

After Jakarta they will travel to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Manila, the Philippines, to complete their one-week trip to Asia Pacific.

She added that most international investors had responded favorably to the state budget draft recently unveiled by the government.

"Now we want to get more information on how it would be implemented," she added.

The investors also want to talk to foreign creditors here in Jakarta, while discussing the country's political risks, Chang said.

Half of the institutional investors in the group have at some point been involved in investing in Indonesia, while the others are making their first visit to Jakarta, Chang said.

The 11 financial institutions -- consisting of insurance companies, hedge funds and banks -- represented by the delegation manage a total of US$1 trillion worth of assets in the global debt and equity markets, Chang said.

She added that only a small percentage of those assets were located in Asian markets.

"However, the allocation in the Asian market is increasing and investors that invested in the Indonesian market did very well last year," she said.

So many investors are interested in Indonesia now because they feel they missed a good opportunity last year, she added.

Chase Manhattan Bank has been in Indonesia for over 30 years with a full bank operating license.

It operates primarily as an adviser on restructuring, and merger and acquisitions, as well as its traditional banking activities. (udi)