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Is French Company Decathlon Looking to Invest $500M in Indonesia?


Indonesia’s struggling textile and garment sector could get a badly needed dose of investment. A French company specializing in sports apparel has plans to pump $500 million into the archipelago.

Jakarta Post reported Monday that Franky Sibarani, chairman of the Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), did not disclose the name of the company, but revealed that it’s based in Lille in northern France.

“Not only will the company market its products domestically, it will also export to other department stores overseas,” Sibarani said, noting that the unnamed company had reached out to BKPM’s representative in London and the organization intended to communicate directly with the potential investors.

Nurul Ichwan, BKPM’s investment promotion rep in London, told Jakarta Post that the company expects to operate its first department stores in Malaysia and Indonesia this year.

All signs point to Decathlon, a 40-year-old sporting goods and apparel retailer that sells several of its own brands and has more than 1,000 stores worldwide. It has its head office in Villeneuve-d’Ascq, close to Lille, and the company raked in 9.1 billion euro (or $10.1 billion) in 2015. It’s also opening its first Malaysian location in April and is currently hiring retail staff in Indonesia.

A half-million dollar investment is money the country’s textile industry could do with. According to government data, garment shipments dropped by almost 11 percent last year, as Indonesia fell to fourth place as a source of U.S. apparel imports (behind China, Vietnam and Bangladesh) in the first 11 months of 2015 with just 5.8% of the year-to-date total.

That could fall further if the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which Indonesia is not part of, comes into force. To that end, BKPM is urgently pursuing European investors, targeting the U.K., Germany, Netherlands, France, Spain and Switzerland.