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Economy

Astra ups stake in Java toll road

Indonesian conglomerate wants stakes in 500km by 2020

JAKARTA -- Astra International, Indonesia's largest publicly listed conglomerate, is raising its stake in a toll road operator in Java to further expand its infrastructure business.

Astra said earlier this month that its subsidiary Astratel Nusantara would acquire a 40% stake in Baskhara Utama Sedaya (BUS). Now Astra will buy the remaining 60% from two subsidiaries of Surya Semesta Internusa in a deal valued at around 2.57 trillion rupiah ($192 million), including debt.

BUS holds a 45% stake in the operating company of a 116km toll road in West Java which began operation in mid-2015. It is part of the Trans-Java toll project connecting cities across the island.

Astra will have stakes in toll roads totaling 342.8km after the transaction. Wiwiek D. Santoso, a director at Astratel, said the company aims to boost this to 500km by 2020.

Astra's core business is selling cars and motorcycles but it also has interests in mining, plantations and finance. The company has positioned infrastructure -- which accounts for only 4% of its revenue -- as a pillar of growth on hopes that the government will push deregulation to accelerate infrastructure projects.

In a stock exchange filing, Surya Semesta, a property developer, said that selling its stakes will "open new investment opportunities."

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