Aramco, Khazanah eye stake in Indonesian road builder

By BLOOMBERG

JAKARTA • PT Waskita Karya, an Indonesian state-owned construction company, is in talks with a group of investors including Islamic Development Bank and Saudi Arabian Oil Co (Aramco) to sell a stake in a unit that builds and operates toll roads.

The consortium also includes Malaysia’s Khazanah Nasional Bhd, and Waskita is aiming to conclude a deal early next year, president director Muhammad Choliq said.

PT Waskita Toll Road owns 18 toll roads, mostly in Java, and counts state pension fund PT Taspen and financing company PT Sarana Multi Infrastruktur as shareholders, he said.

Waskita is seeking to raise funds by selling toll roads to finance future projects as Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo pursues an aggressive infrastructure agenda to improve road, rail and port connectivity.

The government will cease budgetary support to state companies from next year and is pushing them to fund infrastructure projects either through debt or equity.

“We are still negotiating the price and hopefully we can reach an agreement early next year,” Choliq said in an interview last Thursday.

“Aramco wants to diversify its business because of weak oil prices and they are keen to invest in Indonesia’s infrastructure projects.”

The government has identified 245 projects worth about US$325 billion as a priority.

Waskita is also talking to PT Astra Infra for selling a stake in the toll road projects, Choliq said.

The company will pursue an initial public offering of shares in the second half of next year if it fails to find a strategic buyer by the end of the first quarter of 2018, he said.

Waskita failed to get “acceptable offers” for 10 toll road projects it put up for auction in September. Waskita is targeting 60 trillion rupiah (RM16.33 billion) of new contracts in 2018, the same as this year, and sees net income rising to seven trillion rupiah if it completes divestment of the toll roads, Choliq said.

Net income may be lower at five trillion rupiah without the divestment, which would still be up from four trillion rupiah seen this year, he said.