New Indonesia sovereign wealth fund eyes assets worth $2.6 bln

JAKARTA, March 10 (Reuters) - Indonesia’s new sovereign wealth fund is exploring investment in dozens of projects, including toll road concessions worth $2.6 billion, in its first foray into infrastructure assets, a deputy minister said on Wednesday.

The Indonesia Investment Authority (INA) was launched last month with a target of managing $20 billion of assets, including some $5 billion the state will put into the fund this year.

Unlike sovereign wealth funds of richer countries, which manage excess oil revenues or foreign exchange reserves, the INA seeks foreign funds as co-investors to finance the country’s economic development and aid pandemic recovery.

“We have the first 24 (toll road) concessions that we are currently discussing with INA for coordination opportunity with a total equity value of around 37 trillion rupiah ($2.57 billion),” said Kartika Wirjoatmodjo, deputy state-owned enterprises minister.

The concessions, which include a toll road south of the capital Jakarta and parts of a new Trans Sumatra highway, are operated by state-controlled Waskita Karya, Jasa Marga and Hutama Karya, Kartika’s presentation at an investment forum showed.

The INA will also review potential investments into seaports and airports, Kartika said.

The INA hopes to close some deals this year and hold roadshows, its new chief executive Ridha D.M. Wirakusumah told the same forum.

He said the fund aims to be an active, long-term investor in companies it buys into, but will try to exit in seven years or when most suitable.

“We are expediting everything that we can,” Wirakusumah said. “The funds are already in into our coffers right now, the discussions with the deal prospects are ongoing.”

Analysts have said foreign funds might want to wait to see if the INA chooses projects because they are financially sound, or for political purposes.

Officials say the INA is an initiative to help Indonesian state companies recycle assets and finance some of the $460 billion of targeted infrastructure between 2020 and 2024. (Reporting by Tabita Diela; Editing by Gayatri Suroyo, Martin Petty)