Sunday, February 19, 2006

Who owns the leading household brands?

Was there a plot to bring down the rupiah?


Danone is but one of many conglomerates reaping windfall profits from Indonesia, one of the most populous nations on Earth.

The drop in the value of the rupiah means it's cheaper to buy Indonesian companies.

The government has made investing easier by removing barriers such as a 49% limit on foreign shareholding in Indonesian companies and a ban on foreign investment in the distribution business.

And using Indonesia as an export base makes more and more sense as new trade agreements with the country's Southeast Asian neighbors have lowered tariffs on most products to 5% or less.

As a result, most of Indonesia's leading household brands are in foreign hands these days.

Unilever has the leading soy sauce, Bangso, and the best-selling tea, Sariwangi.

The second-biggest maker of cookies and crackers, Helios Arnott's Indonesia, is owned by Campbell Soup Co.

Danone owns the top-selling bottled water, Aqua.