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Temasek’s Tan Says Indonesia Remains Interesting Deal Market

June 13 (Bloomberg) -- Tan Chong Lee, chief investment officer of Temasek Holdings Pte, Singapore’s state-owned investment company, comments on the outlook in Indonesia, new hires and market prospects.

He made the comments in a June 11 interview at the company’s headquarters.

On Indonesia’s regulatory changes:

“We take things in our stride. The banking sector, not only in Indonesia, is a regulated sector.

‘‘Indonesia is broadly accepted to be an interesting market for banking. It has one of the lowest penetration, and for that reason, there continues to be significant interest in Indonesia, in particular the banking market.

‘‘If you look at many of the growth markets, countries are going through a particular phase, an evolutionary phase. It’s not surprising to see rules being put in place.

‘‘Ultimately when we look at growth markets such as Indonesia, we ask ourselves whether the fundamentals are attractive. That is really the starting point. Like many of the growth markets, Indonesia is very interesting. It has a very low penetration rate in terms of banking, a fast rising middle income population, it’s a very resource-rich country. We believe Indonesia is an interesting investment destination and we continue to see if there are interesting investment opportunities for us in Indonesia.’’

On recent hires, including Boon Sim, who joined as president of North America this month from Credit Suisse Group AG, where he’s global head of mergers and acquisitions at the Swiss bank:

‘‘It signals to the marketplace that we are reinforcing our bench strength and building a capacity to better evaluate and better source deals in those regions.’’

On its investing strategy:

‘‘I’m not so sure that one can actually catch the top and the bottom. We don’t believe that we can outsmart the market on a daily basis. When we do investments, we are guided by what we believe is the long-term potential of the investment. Therefore, when we look at an investment, the entry becomes quite an important consideration.

‘‘At the same time, in a market dislocation, in volatile markets, we may be able to make investments which otherwise in a normal market may not be possible. Therefore, it’s important that we make the investment at the right point in the cycle. As long as you have the capacity to hold investments, and your horizon is long enough, provided you buy the right business that rises on the right fundamentals, then over a period of time, over the long term, your investment thesis can materialize.’’

To contact the reporter on this story: Joyce Koh in Singapore at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Philip Lagerkranser at

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