Friday, January 25, 2008


Senang sekali rasanya melihat angka-angka yang tertera di layar klik BCA pagi ini.
Pay day, man. Pay day. :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Let's go home!

I'm so happy because I get to go home on time this week. By "on time" I mean I can leave at 5.30-6.30 PM. Just when I need it, this rare chance comes by. Alhamdulillaah...

Just admit it

This week my team and I are being rotated to the BUMN [Badan Usaha Milik Negara or state-owned enterprise (SOE)] Research Center unit. Our main task during our rotation in the unit is to help prepare the BUMN monthly newsletter.

During my time doing my work - which I find quite boring because what I do is just collecting data & information on CEO's profile of several SOEs and turning it into a short article in English - I've been thinking about SOEs in Indonesia. Currently there are about 130 SOEs in Indonesia, and the majority never cease to have negative bottom line from year to year. Concerns on this have been raised since more than a decade ago by professionals and the government itself. Efforts such as downsizing the number of SOEs and having some of the SOEs sell their shares to the public have been executed.

So far the last effort is the most effective one. SOEs which have gone public are now among the top ten listed companies whose shares are the most liquid and actively transacted. These companies' losses have been able to remedy and now they almost never fail to make profits year in year out.

But of course, there are still many other SOEs which are helpless. SOEs such as PLN and Pertamina, for example, are notorious for their inefficiency and consistent net losses. The question is: Will and can these SOEs ever book profit?

Despite the basic problem such as corruption which has plagued SOEs and contributed to their high inefficiency, in my opinion some SOEs are inevitably cost centers. PLN, for instance, is expected to produce and or distribute electricity to households and manufacturers at affordable tariff because, if you remember our constitution article 33 verse 2, the state is supposed to protect and regulate the provision of goods and services which are related to the basic needs of the people of Indonesia. Now with the condition of soaring oil price and costly infrastructure procurement, there is no way for PLN to make a profitable company. Small income deducted by big big cost equals: Loss. Huge loss.

Take another SOE like PANN Multifinance. This SOE never misses being listed as one of the top five SOEs which suffer losses every year. If you look at the business of the company, you’ll see why it has such poor performance.

PANN is basically a financing company. Rather than financing motorcycle purchase like nowadays regular multi-finance companies do, PANN helps finance the purchasing of ships. As you know, ships are like properties: it takes some time before we can sell one. So it’s no surprise if we find the company’s revenue and cash flow fluctuate like roller coaster ride.

I can mention you a list of SOEs which are burdensome to exist but they just have to exist. For the sake of providing goods and service which a normal private company won’t do, I say these SOEs deserve not to be dissolved. Why don’t we just admit it that some SOEs are simply cost centers?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Do you have the guts?

It's only 8:07 and my colleagues are already rattling on the gloomy stock market. No wonder, with the index's nerve-wrecking fluctuations since last week, those who have buy positions are scoring losses. Some are already getting margin call for their leveraged buy.

In fact, the buzz is not happening in this country only. Everybody in almost all corners of the world who invests in the stock market at this point of time is getting the jitters due to expectation of recession in the US. Indices all over the world are marked red, saying they suffer downturns.

But like they say, some people's misfortunes are some others' good luck. For those who want to take a dip into the stock market, this is actually the right moment, because you can get to buy stocks at lower prices. The question remains, however, how low can the price be?

Time to test your guts.