Joe Hendren

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Indonesian Government considers buying back port from Hutchison

The Indonesian Government is considering buying back port operators PT Jakarta International Container Terminal (JICT) and PT Terminal Petikemas Surabaya (TPS) from the current foreign investors as they have failed to expand the ports as promised.

Transportation Minister Hatt Radjasa said the government has seen no progress or evidence of a serious intention on the part of the foreign investors to turn the ports into an international hub.

And who are these 'foreign investors' who have failed to deliver on their promises?
  • British company P&O Ports, and;
  • Hong Kong-based Hutchison Port Holdings Group
Earlier this year the Christchurch City Council, through its assets arm Christchurch City Holdings (CCHL), proposed selling Lyttelton Port to the very same Hutchison encouraged by the promises made by Hutchison to expand the port and turn it into an international hub. Where have we heard that before!

Instead, Hutchison put their own interests first,
"The buyback plan is not a nationalism gimmick. It is a fact that the foreign investors in the two ports are only making Indonesia a feeding market for their operations in Singapore," said Hatta recently at the Presidential Palace.

Thankfully CCHL and Hutchison were unable to proceed with the asset sale as CCHL failed to acquire enough of the existing Lyttelton Port Company (LPC) to enforce a compulsory takeover. This does not mean the Christchurch City Council have given up on privatising Lyttelton Port. I heard Gary Moore say during the recent public hearings on the Long Term Community Plan that the council now have 74.1% of the Port Company. This puts CCHL extremely close to the 75% mark that would allow them to change the LPC constitution, which no doubt would be used to further the privatisation agenda.

You would hope, perhaps in vain, the Jakaka example would give CCHL pause for thought.

Tags: Politics, Lyttelton, Corporates, Hutchison, Privatisation, Christchurch

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At 12:07 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Possibly the City Council has it's head in the sand.


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