President of state-owned cement producer PT Semen Gresik (SG) Satrio said the government should postpone its plan to sell more shares in the company to Mexico’s cement giant Cemex SA, pending a more conducive business environment. Satrio wants the government to preserve the status quo conditions, waiting for the local people of West Sumatra to calm down. "We hope the government will maintain the current conditions, because the local people are not in their mood for such a plan, especially during the general election... just let us work and improve the company first," said Satrio.
Satrio feared that local people would disturb the company’s operations if the government decided to settle its dispute with Cemex by agreeing to sell more shares in SG, which would turn the foreign investor into a majority owner. The East Java-based SG has two subsidiaries, PT Semen Padang in West Sumatra and PT Semen Tonasa in South Sulawesi. Currently, the government is preparing for litigation after the Washington-based International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes registered a request for arbitration submitted by Cemex, regarding a dispute involving its late-1998 acquisition of a 25.50 percent stake in SG.