Foreigners Invade Local Banks
Tuesday, 12 December, 2006 | 15:41 WIB

Tempo Interactive, Jakarta: Foreign banks are more eager to buy banks in Indonesia. Currently Bank Indonesia (BI) has received plans from theCommonwealth Bank (Australia) which will acquire PT Bank Artha Niaga Kentjana and the Bank of India to take over PT Bank Swadesi.

“They will take 50 percent of the shares, not 100 percent considering that local shareholders are still necessary,” said Siti Ch. Fadjrijah, BI Deputy Governor, yesterday (11/12).

Several investors from the Middle East have previously conveyed their interest in buying banks in Indonesia. They especially aim at syariah banks or conventional banks that have syariah units.

In addition to Al-Barakah, which is interested in taking over a bank in Indonesia, according to Fadjrijah, BI has met with Sedco. This Saudi Arabian investor now has 21.2 percent of shares of Bank Muamalat.

“Sedco has two plans: to add capital at Bank Muamalat or to buy one of local banks to be merged with Muamalat Bank into one syariah bank,” she said. The Kuwait Finance House, which has sold its interest, according to Fadjrijah, has not so far realized its plan.

The Bank of India has signed a conditional sale and purchase-shares agreement to acquire 76 percent of Bank Swadesi’s shares, in Jakarta yesterday.

The large number of small banks in Indonesia acquired by foreign banks is related to BI’s banking consolidation policy--that compels a bank’s minimum capital to be Rp80 billion by the end of 2007 and Rp100 billion by 2010.

Until now, it is listed that several small banks’ ownerships have been taken over by foreign banks, such as Bank Haga and Bank Hagakita that have agreed to be acquired by Rabobank International, one of the corporation banks from the Netherlands.

Bank Nusantara Parahyangan has been approached by Japanese investor Acom Ltd. and the consortium of Bank of Tokyo, Mitsubishi and UFJ Ltd—with the agreement being signed on November 27 by the shareholders.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the biggest bank in China which has recently obtained a large sum from the Initial Public Offering (IPO) last month, is also completing negotiations with Bank Halim from Surabaya, owned by the Gudang Garam group.

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