Indonesia sends mixed messages

Could Antam''s efforts to buy Freeport be thwarted at the gate?

In Indonesia, where politics is always near and dear to business deals, twists are to be expected. Last week, Indonesian state-owned mining company PT Antam Tbk appointed HSBC as its financial advisor for the potential acquisition from the government of a minority stake in PT Freeport Indonesia, which owns and operates the Grasberg gold and copper mine in Papua.

But oddly, at the same time, Aburizal Bakrie, coordinating minister for the economy, claimed to reporters that the government's stake in Freeport Indonesia is not for sale.

Jakarta-based Antam is considering acquiring the government's 9.36% stake in Freeport Indonesia, which some analysts say is valued at $700 million....

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