Indonesian tycoon ventures into ASEAN

First Pacific’s holdings in Asia

Anthoni Salim, an Indonesian billionaire and president of the country’s biggest conglomerate Salim Group, is eyeing investments throughout ASEAN via the Philippine-based operations of his investment company First Pacific, Bloomberg reported on March 8.

The group has set sight on telecommunications, power and water investments in Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand to tap rising demand.

“Myanmar has just opened its economy, Vietnam needs more power, and Thailand to a degree needs to build more power plants,” Manuel Pangilinan, CEO of First Pacific’s Philippines branch, was quoted as saying.

The expansion could take place through Manila Electric and Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), two of the biggest companies in First Pacific’s portfolio. The two companies generated almost $1.5 billion in free cash in 2012.

PLDT, the Philippines’ biggest telecommunications company, is in talks with several global competitors to make a joint bid for two Myanmar phone licenses, Pangilinan said.

Manila Electric plans to accelerate investments in the next three to five years and may boost capacity overseas to 1,500 megawatts.

First Pacific Company Limited is a Hong Kong-based investment and management company with operations located in Asia. It involves telecommunications, consumer food products and infrastructure.It’s main investment in Indonesia is the coutnry’s largest food company Indofood. In the Philippines, the group also holds stakes in Metro Pacific Investments Corp., Philex Mining Corp. and Maynilad Water Services Inc.

Assets of the parent company, Salim Group, include large palm oil and logging operations in Indonesia, property and hotel developments as well as stakes in Indocement, Nestlé Indonesia, PepsiCo Indonesia, Unilever Indonesia, Lion Corporation and TV station Indosiar, among others.

Salim Group was founded by Sudono Salim, a Chinese Indonesian businessman.  He was the head of the conglomerate before turning over its management to his youngest son Anthony Salim in 1992, who now ranks number 5 of Indonesia’s 40 richest people.