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Southeast Asian exchanges put out the 'investors wanted' sign

JAKARTA -- HM Sampoerna, an Indonesian cigarette maker, had a market capitalization of 306 trillion rupiah ($24.8 billion), based on its closing price of Dec. 5. That gave it the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX)'s second-largest cap. But since less than 2% of its shares are available to the public -- parent Philip Morris Indonesia owns all the others -- investors hardly have a chance to trade in the company's stock.

     The IDX wants this state of affairs to change. Earlier this year, it issued a regulation requiring listed companies to float 7.5% of their paid-up capital to the public. But it gave companies until January 2016 to comply, and so far companies like HM Sampoerna have not budged.

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