THE INDONESIAN Government hopes to sell up to 20% of state-owned aircraft manufacturer Industri Pesawat Terbang Nusantara (IPTN) to foreign aerospace-investors after the year 2000.

According to Dr Bacharuddin Habibie, company president and Indonesia's technology and research minister, 10-20% of IPTN will offered for sale overseas, with the Government retaining its overall majority shareholding.

Boeing and British Aerospace are among the potential buyers, which Habibie is hoping to attract, say sources in Jakarta. The move is designed to strengthen technological co-operation with foreign companies and inject much-needed additional capital into IPTN.

BAe says that, in the wake of its regional-aircraft alliance with the Franco-Italian consortium, it will seek Asia-Pacific partners, possibly focused on a new regional-jet programme. Daimler-Benz Aerospace has been holding separate talks in the region and Boeing has been attempting to stitch together a consortium for its proposed New Regional Aircraft.

Most of these efforts have focused on Japan, Taiwan, Korea and China, however.

The Indonesian Government has pumped a total of $1.6 billion into IPTN since it was established in 1976. The company has recently been running short of funding, to support continued development of its $650 million N-250 regional turboprop aircraft.

Indonesian finance minister Mar'ie Muhammad is understood to have been trying to restrict funding to IPTN and other large-scale projects sponsored by Habibie. The recent diversion of $185 million from the country's reforestation budget to the N-250 programme, provoked unprecedented opposition from within Indonesia.

IPTN is also seeking to attract foreign partners to invest in its planned US-based N-250 assembly and support joint venture, American Regional Aircraft Industry. Habibie has proposed a similar N-250 joint-venture operation in Europe, but is still looking for investors.

Source: Flight International