* Shares rise as much as 50 pct
* Rise reflects appetite for infrastructure stocks
* Company plans to expand in Indonesia, SE Asia, Mid East (Adds expansion plan, analyst quote, context)
JAKARTA, April 8 (Reuters) - Shares of Indonesian building materials maker PT Wijaya Karya Beton (WIKA Beton) rose as much as 50 percent in their trading debut on Tuesday, signalling strong appetite for infrastructure-related stocks in Southeast Asia’s biggest economy.
Indonesia in general and WIKA Beton in particular are set to benefit from companies and investors looking to shift out of nearby Thailand, where political uncertainty has delayed infrastructure plans and caused domestic demand to decline.
The world’s third-largest democracy is also holding a parliamentary election on Wednesday. The result will determine who can contest the July 9 presidential election for which Jakarta Governor Joko Widodo is widely considered a front-runner.
“Indonesia is one of the best investment choices in Southeast Asia with its large consumer base, the potential outcome of the election and improving current account deficit,” said Adrianus Bias Prasuryo, head of equity research at Samuel Sekuritas.
WIKA Beton shares rose as high as 885 rupiah ($0.08) from an initial public offering (IPO) price of 590 rupiah. By comparison, the Jakarta stock exchange rose 0.1 percent.
WIKA Beton, a unit of state-owned PT Wijaya Karya Tbk , makes construction materials such as bridge beams, retaining walls and pipes.
In a press release, the company said it plans to build factories in Lampung, Cilegon and Makassar in Indonesia, and gain a more stable control of raw materials “in anticipation of the huge growth potential of infrastructure projects in Indonesia.”
The company also aims to expand into other Southeast Asian countries such as Myanmar and the Philippines, as well as the Middle East, Finance Director Entus Asnawi told reporters at a briefing on Tuesday. ($1 = 11,302.50 rupiah) (Reporting by Fathiyah Dahrul and Eveline Danubrata; Editing by Christopher Cushing)