With an expanding economy and robust commodity prices, the country’s ultra-wealthy are quickly getting wealthier, business magazine GlobeAsia’s list of the 150 richest Indonesians shows this year.
On GlobeAsia’s 150 Rich List this year, more than 90 per cent of those listed saw their fortunes rise over the past year.
GlobeAsia, a sister publication of the Jakarta Globe, reports in its June issue that for the second year running, Eka Tjipta Widjaja, the powerful patriarch of the Sinar Mas Group, topped the list with a net worth of US$12.5 billion. That was US$500 million higher than his net worth in 2011.
“Sinar Mas owns the world’s fourth-largest pulp and paper company and the fifth-largest palm oil plantation, and in property, it has cash, landbanks and expertise to expand aggressively,” said a hedge fund owner familiar with the group.
This year’s list had 24 billionaires, most of whom built their fortunes on natural resources, particularly palm oil and coal.
A.H.K Hamami, 76, the founder of heavy-equipment company Trakindo Utama, achieved his cash haul by listing his coal and energy company, ABM Investama.
Another notable on the list was media tycoon Hary Tanoesoedibjo, who created the country’s biggest media company, Global Mediacom, of which share price rose by 120 per cent over the year.
Media tycoons were the flavour of the year. Apart from Hary, brothers Eddy and Fofo Sariaatmadja, the owners of television station Surya Citra Televisi also saw their net worth soar with a 200 per cent rise in their company’s share price.
Hary, Eddy and Fofo could represent the future of the country’s top earners, as relative wealth creation shifts from natural resources to consumer services, said Tom Lembong, the founder of private equity firm Quvat Management.
“With a fast-growing middle-class, advertising spending is suddenly growing by between 20 per cent and 25 per cent annually, a boom for media companies,” he said. “This trend also applies to other domestic consumer-related sectors such as property, retail and financial services.
“Commodities and natural resources have gone up very sharply over the past five years but could plateau over the next few years,” he added.
“There are questions over whether the commodities supercycle is flattening out, but it would be a huge boost to consumers if raw materials prices stopped increasing or even fell a bit.”