Race heats up for Jakarta terminal stake

A consortium headed by a Neptune Orient Lines subsidiary has reportedly offered $150 million for a stake in Koja Container Terminal, but will it be enough to see off the competition?

A consortium headed by Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) is up against Hutchison Whampoa and a group of Indonesian investors to acquire a 49% stake in Koja Container Terminal in Jakarta. A report in The Business Times in Singapore cites unnamed sources as saying NOL subsidiary American President Line (APL), in partnership with Samudera Shipping Lines (SSL) and Temasek Holdings, the investment arm of the Singapore government, has offered $150 million for the stake.

Ron Widdows, senior vice-president of operations at APL says: "The Koja Terminal would better protect our interests and provide APL with the ability to have a greater influence in the operations of the terminal, provide better controls over costs for our business in Indonesia." But, he adds: "Others are pursuing it as well, including the current operators of the neighbouring terminal. This would give them a monopoly in that port."

The neighbouring terminal, Jakarta International Container Terminal, is 51%-owned by Hutchison, which has refused to confirm its involvement in the Koja bidding. Koja is a two-berth terminal with five cranes, which was completed in 1997.

The Koja stake being sold is owned by the Humpuss group, which has debts of around Rp5.5 trillion ($645 million). Humpuss is controlled by Hutomo Mandala Putra, the youngest son of former president Suharto.