UPDATE 1-Garuda $500 mln IPO kicks off busy yr in Indonesia

Mon Jan 3, 2011 11:03pm EST

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HONG KONG Jan 4 (Reuters) - Flag carrier PT Garuda Indonesia launched an up to $500 million initial public offering (IPO) on Tuesday, kicking off a busy year for capital-raising in Southeast Asia's biggest economy.

Indonesia's fast-growing economy is attracting interest from foreign investors, encouraging companies to tap equity markets. Indonesia's benchmark share index .JKSE jumped 46 percent last year, in-part supported by $2.18 billion in foreign portfolio inflows, which was more than double the level in 2009.

Banks are also raising fresh capital to support an expected pick up in lending growth. PT Bank Mandiri Indonesia Tbk (BMRI.JK), the nation's biggest lender, was raising up to $1.6 billion to support credit growth, according to a term sheet seen by Reuters.

The Indonesian government had initially planned to launch the Garuda IPO in November last year, but later delayed it for 2011.

The company aimed to list on Feb. 11, the term sheet said.

"IPOs of this size and nature will be a key feature of the industrialisation process driving ASEAN growth," said Singapore-based Geoff Howie, a sales and markets strategist at MF Global, referring to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations grouping.

"As the economic modernisation of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand continues, their new and existing financial assets will continue to provide investable economics," he added.

Citigroup Inc (C.N) and UBS AG UBSN.VX are the international book runners for Garuda's offer. (Reporting by Denny Thomas and Vikram Subhedar; Editing by Chris Lewis)

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