JARDINE International Motor Holdings (JIMH) has accumulated a 25 per cent stake in Tunas Ridean, an Indonesian car dealership group, for US$28 million. The move is a continuation of JIMH's efforts to expand its regional base. Tunas is headquartered in Jakarta and has 39 showrooms, selling Toyota, Daihatsu, BMW, Peugeot, Fiat and Renault cars, and Honda motorcycles. It has a network of service stations and used-car dealerships and has two vehicle financing operations. Tunas recently completed its initial public offering of shares on the Jakarta Stock Exchange. JIMH joint managing director Anthony Nightingale said the purchase of the shares gave his company an opportunity to develop its interests in Southeast Asia. JIMH, a luxury-car distributor and service operation, has operations in Hong Kong, China, Macau, Japan, Australia, the United States and Europe. It also has a 12.9 per cent interest in Malaysia's Cycle and Carriage Bintang. JIMH has recently been hit by soaring import costs and falling demand in its key mainland market. While it recorded an overall operating profit last year of $95.7 million, its prospects for this year appear far less positive. Total car sales in Hong Kong fell 13 per cent last year and are expected to remain weak. Analysts said the involvement with Tunas will help JIMH compensate for the cyclical downturn in its two major markets. While Hong Kong and China are experiencing a period of economic slowdown, Indonesia's economy remains buoyant. Mr Nightingale said the motor-vehicle industry in Indonesia was expanding rapidly and, as the country had a low car ownership ratio, the prospects for future growth were substantial.