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Indonesia is ripe for investment: YTL chief

   
Mr Yeoh: Opportunities abound in infrastructural projects and the utilities sector

Singapore Business Times, January 26, 2006

By OH BOON PING

WITH an Indonesian government that aims to clamp down on corruption, investment opportunities there deserve a second look, said Francis Yeoh, managing director of YTL Corporation yesterday.

'The new leadership under Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is fighting against corruption. And it is also a good leadership that is transparent and serious about attracting long-term investors,' he told the audience at the IE Forum.

In addition, he pointed out that post-1997 investment in Indonesia's infrastructure was still insignificant - an opportunity that local investors may want to look into.

'So there's a whole dozen of infrastructural projects there that are in need of investments. And we know that the government there is serious about welcoming foreign investors since the country cannot develop into a strong economy without investments,' Mr Yeoh said.

He sees further opportunities in the eventual regulation of utilities sectors in countries including Indonesia and some in Eastern Europe even as they open up their economies.

Mr Yeoh said that such businesses should not be state-controlled, but neither should they be wholly privatised without regulating the profits. 'So these businesses have to be regulated, transparently discussed by all consumers and the different pressure groups. Debate about it, and every five years, review the tariffs and other issues such as the quality of the service.'

This, he felt, will happen in the medium to long term - a development with investment opportunities for YTL, which is also in the utilities business.

In China, however, Mr Yeoh noted that there are still serious power transmission problems, brownouts and blackouts. However, the power-generation companies are still attractive to foreign investments 'since foreign investors are not seriously looking at these problems yet'.

He said: 'When these transmission and structural constraints come to the fore, there will be business opportunities for YTL.'

Copyright ? 2005 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.





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