Wed, Jan 11, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Trump’s Indonesia man targets theme park, track


MNC Group founder Hary Tanoesoedibjo speaks during an interview in Jakarta on Monday.

Photo: Bloomberg

Indonesian tycoon Hary Tanoesoedibjo said he is fending off potential rivals to his pact with the Trump Organization by building new projects such as a motorbike-racing track and Disneyland-like theme park to cement the alliance.

Tanoesoedibjo’s MNC Group, which is redeveloping two Indonesian resorts to be managed by the company owned by US president-elect Donald Trump, is open to more joint ventures given his existing relationship and access.

To enhance its 3,000 hectare resort in Lido, West Java Province, MNC is planning a MotoGP course that will be subsequently pitched to Formula One, Tanoesoedibjo said in an interview at his sprawling South Jakarta residence.

“We’re partners — we can come to meet them anytime to discuss the business,” said Tanoesoedibjo, 51, who is working closely with Trump’s older sons, Don Jr and Eric. “But for a newcomer, logically speaking, it would be difficult because I don’t think Trump may entertain any new project from any new third party except for the existing partner.”

The real-estate developments are helping Tanoesoedibjo, who built his wealth from free-to-air TV and advertising, diversify from his media business that now make up two-thirds of sales.

The Indonesian group is to spend as much as US$1 billion on the two resorts that are to bear the Trump brand, said Tanoesoedibjo, who is aiming to reduce his reliance on the media business to 40 percent of revenue in the next five years as he expands other sectors.

Trump Hotel Collection is to manage about 700 hectares of the Lido site to operate a resort, a golf course by golfer Ernie Els, as well as a country club. The golf course has been built, with the country club to follow before the villas and hotel begin construction next year, Tanoesoedibjo said.

In addition to the racetrack, his PT MNC Land will also build a residential complex, a factory outlet and a theme park in the scale of Disneyland around the area, he said.

Trump Hotel would also manage Tanoesoedibjo’s 100 hectare resort in Bali set across the water from Tanah Lot Temple, including its existing hotel and country club, and talks are being held with golfing champion Phil Mickelson to redesign the course, he said.

Villas in the property are to be renamed Trump Residences.

Trump has said he plans to put his two eldest sons in charge of the Trump Organization and vowed to do no deals while he is president. He is expected to outline a plan for leaving his business at a news conference today.

While Tanoesoedibjo has secured the first-mover advantage in partnering the Trump Organization, how the ties “can translate into meaningful benefits for his businesses remains to be seen,” John Teja, director at PT Ciptadana Securities in Jakarta, said by telephone yesterday.

While some shares of MNC group’s listed companies advanced after Trump’s surprise win, they have since pared gains.

Tanoesoedibjo has been in talks with a strategic investor keen on buying a stake in the holding company before the share sale, he said, declining to name the suitor.

“I will push all four units of my business to grow with none being too dominant,” Tanoesoedibjo said.

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