The Jakarta Post
Publicly listed diversified conglomerate PT Astra International is set to open the first section of the Mojokerto-Kertosono toll road in East Java on Monday, as part of the government's Trans Java toll-road program.
Public Works Minister Djoko Kirmanto is slated to inaugurate the section, which spans 14.7 kilometers and connects Bandar Kedungmulyo with Jombang, both in Jombang regency, East Java.
It is part of Astra's Mojokerto-Kertosono toll-road concession, which spans more than 40.5 km, making it the longest road concession within the Trans Java program.
The whole Mojokerto-Kertosono road is being developed by PT Marga Harjaya Infrastruktur (MHI), part of PT Astratel Nusantara, which is Astra's wholly owned subsidiary in the infrastructure sector.
According to MHI president director Wiwiek D. Santoso, construction on the Bandarkedungmulyo-Jombang section took three years to complete and Rp 1.4 trillion (US$114.69 million) in costs.
'We began working on the first section in 2011. We had to do it in stages while waiting for the government to complete the acquisition of the land. The last piece of land needed for the first section was acquired in May,' she told The Jakarta Post on Sunday.
The first section is expected to help ease traffic congestion in Jombang and its surrounding areas. 'At present, arterial roads facilitate around 20,000 vehicles per day. Now, we forecast that between 5,000 and 6,000 vehicles will travel via the new toll road each day,' Wiwiek added.
After the inauguration of the first section, MHI will proceed with the construction of the second and third sections, according to Wiwiek.
The second section, which was started in 2011, will connect Jombang and the western part of Mojokerto with a 20-km road. The third and final section, which began this year, will link the western part of Mojokerto with its northern part via a 5-km road.
The construction of the two sections is estimated to be costing Rp 2.5 trillion. All the funds for the Mojokerto-Kertosono toll road comes from Astra's internal cash.
'We already have 80 percent of the land needed for the second section and 87 percent for the third section. Completion will depend on how quickly the government can acquire the rest of the land. Hopefully, we can wrap things up in 2015,' she said.
The Mojokerto-Kertosono toll road is not the only toll concession managed by Astra. The conglomerate also manages the Tangerang-Merak toll road via PT Marga Mandalasakti.
Astra, via PT Marga Trans Nusantara, is also looking to finish the Kunciran-Serpong toll road in Tangerang, in partnership with state toll-road operator PT Jasa Marga.
Astra director Paulus Bambang Widjanarko, who is also Astrasel's president commissioner, said the company was interested in acquiring other toll road concessions to expand its infrastructure business.
'Our focus is still on Java. Hopefully, we can acquire another toll road concession soon,' he said.
According to Astra's first-half financial report, its infrastructure business ' along with logistics and others ' contributed Rp 4.14 trillion, equal to 4.1 percent of its total revenue during the first six months of this year, up by a substantial 14.3 percent from a year ago.
The conglomerate plans to allocate the same amount of capital expenditure funds next year as it did this year, namely between Rp 15 trillion and Rp 17.5 trillion.
Astra's shares closed at Rp 6,500 apiece on Friday on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX), down 3.3 percent from the day before.
Overall, its shares have under-performed compared to the wider market, falling by 4.4 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Jakarta Composite Index (JCI) ' the main benchmark of the IDX ' has risen by 16.1 percent.