Thu, 03 Jul 2003

JAKARTA: State-owned PT Bank Tabungan Negara, or BTN, has appointed Trimegah Securities and Andalan Artha Advisindo Securities as joint lead underwriters for its Rp 750 billion (US$91 million) bond.

Akhabani, a director with Trimegah, told Dow Jones Newswires Wednesday that he expects the mortgage provider to complete the issue by end-August.

"We expect the bank to receive the proceeds by the end of August," he said.

Earlier this year BTN's President Director Kodradi said BTN planned to issue Rp 1 trillion in bonds, including Rp 250 billion in subordinated debt. He said the fresh funds will enable the bank to boost new loans this year to Rp 4.05 trillion from Rp 1.9 trillion last year.

Akhabani said BTN canceled the plan to issue the sub-debt as its capital base continues to improve.

The maturity and coupon rate for the bond hasn't yet been decided, he said. -- Dow Jones

'Enjoy Australia' campaign launched

CANBERRA: Singapore Airlines and the Australian government's tourism marketing arm have joined forces to attract Asian travelers to Australia as fears over the SARS virus abate, an official said Wednesday.

The "Enjoy Australia" promotion to start this week will try to entice visitors to Australia from Southeast Asia, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, India and China.

Australian Tourism Commission manager for Asia and Japan, Richard Beere, said the government had provided extra funding for the campaign following the downturn caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome.

The television and Internet promotion will offer special fares for people traveling in coming months. Tickets will go on sale this month.

Official figures show the number of Asian visitors to Australia fell by around 45 percent in May compared to the same month a year ago. -- AP

Yamaha to develop methanol cell

TOKYO: Japan's Yamaha Motor said Wednesday it plans to develop the world's first environmentally-friendly methanol fuel cell for small motorcycles.

"We are now collecting data from ongoing trials of the fuel- cell powered motorcycle," said Kunihiko Nakajima, managing director of the world's second largest motorbike maker.

"But I think it will take several years to recoup the investment, even after commercialization because it will be too expensive for customers," he told a news conference.

Invented in 1839 by William Grove from Britain, the fuel cell produces electricity through a reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, which leaves water as its only by-product. -- AFP