On a sultry afternoon in May, Richard Friedman sits in the back of a 1990s Buick with faulty air conditioning, mired in traffic in downtown Yangon (formerly Rangoon). The rainy season in Myanmar—also known as Burma—has just begun, and the sky is a leaden gray; the temperature is pushing 95F. Friedman, one of the highest-profile American investors to be lured by the siren call of this newly opened Southeast Asian country, peers out at a sweep of colonial-era buildings, many of them derelict. We drive past the old British Customs House and the former Pegu Club, where Rudyard Kipling spent his only night in Burma, in 1889, while traveling from Calcutta to San Francisco. The stories he heard there inspired his poem “Mandalay.”
A short, vigorous 72-year-old who coached the Harvard ski team after graduating from Dartmouth in the early 1960s, Friedman made his name turning neglected but historic properties into top-flight hotels. In 2005 he redeveloped San Francisco’s 1907 Williams Building into a $180 million mixed-used project that includes the St. Regis Hotel, condominiums, and the Museum of the African Diaspora. Two years later he transformed the 19th century Charles Street Jail on Boston’s Beacon Hill into the four-star Liberty Hotel. Friedman is the president and chief operating officer of Carpenter & Co., a Cambridge (Mass.)-based real estate development and management company. He’s also a major Democratic fundraiser. During the 1990s, the Clintons used his beachfront home on Martha’s Vineyard as their summer White House half a dozen times.
Posted by Innovator on July 17, 2012
As reported by Bloomberg’s Hidayat Setiaji and Sharon Chen, Indonesia may allow banks to own as much as 90 percent of commercial lenders, easing concerns on ownership caps that may affect acquisitions including DBS Group Holdings Ltd.’s bid for PT Bank Danamon Indonesia.
Bank Indonesia plans to announce the ownership rule before July, Deputy Governor Muliaman Hadad, who’s in charge of banking regulations, said in Jakarta after a speech today.
The ownership stake “could be that high,” Hadad said, responding queries from reporters on whether banks could own as much as 90 percent of local lenders. “Of course this will be on a very selective basis.”
The comment comes two months after Singapore’s DBS’s 66 trillion rupiah ($7 billion) bid for Danamon, which triggered proposals from Bank Indonesia’s officials to restrict the shareholding of local lenders by other financial institutions. The possible limit led traders to bet that the deal, Southeast Asia’s largest banking takeover, may unravel.
“There has been a lot of relatively negative news flow on Indonesia’s recent regulatory changes,” said Anand Pathmakanthan, a Singapore-based analyst at Nomura Equity Research who has a “buy” rating on DBS (DBS) shares. “So this could be a bit of a white flag, sort of a concession by Indonesian authorities to indicate to the market that they are open to foreign direct investments. Chances are definitely higher with this so-called concession.”
Indonesia’s parliament this week approved Hadad to head the board of a national financial regulator due to start operating in January 2013.
Posted by Innovator on June 23, 2012