Sat, 11 Nov 2000

Pura denies collusion reports

KUDUS, Central Java (JP): Paper printing, processing and engineering business Pura Group denied media reports that it had colluded with officials of Bank Indonesia and the state-owned money printing company PT Peruri in winning the US$7 million contract to supply banknote paper to the money printing firm.

"The Pura Group has no special ties either with the central bank or Peruri and it won the project because PT Pura Barutama, the group's subsidiary, offered the lowest price in the bid," Evie Casino, the group's spokesperson, said here on Thursday.

Evie made the statement in response to media reports that the business group had colluded with officials from BI and Peruri to secure the project.

The alleged unfair business deal has raised questions about the quality of the paper used in the production of the country's bank notes at a time of growing public concern over counterfeit money.

She said Pura won the contract after outbidding other bidders including nine foreign companies at the tender launched in November last year.

"The quality of our samples is also better than the ones provided by the nine foreign companies and the price we proposed was far lower than they offered. We are prepared for a possible investigation by the Police or the Attorney General's Office into the alleged collusion," she said.

The nine foreign companies that joined the bid included Loenthal (Germany), Portal Ltd. (Britain), Tunba Brup (Sweden), Crane & Co. (USA) and Arjo Wiggins (France).

Pura's operations director Mulyono said the company, which was established in 1970, has successfully developed a sophisticated paper and offset technology system to produce security hologram and hot stamping foil, security printing and security banknote papers.

"So far, Pura has obtained 14 patents in paper processing, paper converting, offset printing and engineering," he said.

Most state and private banks' security papers are printed by Pura, he claimed. He also said that 80 percent of cigarette factories, pharmaceutical companies and consumer goods producers have entrusted the company to manufacture their products' packages.

"Packaging of national and international products' brands such as L'Oreal, Revlon, Coca Cola, Gudang Garam, Dji Sam Soe, Gillette, Philips, Kalbe Farma, Pfizer and Bayer are produced here," he said.

He said Pura in cooperation with four companies from China has also developed hologram technology to avoid falsification in their products, especially security and banknote papers.

"With the hologram and paper processing technology, Pura has been entrusted to supply Rp 1,000 and Rp 5,000 note paper to Peruri and to print Somali shilling," he said.


He said that Pura has also exported its security papers to the Philippines, Thailand, Taiwan, Myanmar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and has sent its offset machines to Malaysia, China and Iran.

Asked about its staff training, Mulyono said the company employs no expatriates and has sent its staff to undergo intensive training programs in developed countries such as the United States, Germany, Britain and Sweden.

"Ten percent of Pura's staff from its 8,000 employees, mostly local people, have undergone expert training," he said.

Eddy Soesanto Soewandi, the company's finance director, said the company was considering selling a small part of its shares to the Kudus local administration and possibly to its workers, to meet political interests in face of the imminent implementation of regional autonomy in January.

"Political support from the local administration is needed to maintain the presence of the company with its Rp 1 trillion in total assets. We want to contribute not only our tax payment but also a part of our profit to the local administration," he said. (rms)