Friday, May 19, 2006

The Politics of Cement 1

I don't know the rules of stock market very well. I also don't collect the complete history of Cemex-SG fiasco. But this news (and others in that series) bothers me.

If you buy a share in some company. That means you've got an ownership, correct? What if you don’t want it anymore? Sell it. You have the right to sell anything you own to whoever you want and at whatever price you agree with the buyer.

It looks like it's not how it works here in Cemex-Semen Gresik thingy. Or is it just my ignorance? I gather, the Minister of State-Owned Enterprises (yes there is such thing here) Sugiharto is not happy if Cemex sells its shares to Rajawali. I'm having hard time to understand that.

Apparently the government can't keep Cemex from selling its shares. The only way for the government to keep its stake (whatever it is, in addition to the 51% it already has) secured is to, well buy them. Sounds fine? But... it has no money! The answer should be easy: then don't buy.

But as usual, they're stubborn. Especially under the pressure from nationalists or even worse, primordialists. Read here on Sumatera Barat’s governor statement. He insists that his people want the shares to be bought by the government (why don’t you buy them yourself?). And he thought, “To be more secured, the government should own more than 51 percent”. That’s laughable.

I won't be surprised if the government will again turn to their usual cash cows: other BUMNs, as they are not permitted by law to use APBN/D fund. Sugiharto has shown such intention.

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