Rich List: Indonesia's above-ground treasures

Indonesia's family fortunes haven't necessarily sprung from its abundant natural resources but from the goods and services sector catering to a burgeoning consumer class.

In elections last year Indonesia chose a new leader who promised a fresh start. President Joko Widodo’s election last year encouraged investors and businessmen to hope for progress in improving the country’s physical infrastructure and reducing corruption.

The general population hoped for measures to alleviate poverty and improve social welfare.

Another segment of society, the super rich subjects of FinanceAsia's 2015 Rich List, also had reason to be hopeful; the Widodo administration's national improvement plan held the promise of market expansion.

different priorities and concerns, slump in commodity prices and the strength of vested interests quickly dampened the initial euphoria, although the stock market sustained upward trend until international investors cut back holdings in emerging markets late in the year.

 

Indonesian miners are absent from the Rich List. Instead, prominent business families are those providing goods and services for the country’s burgeoning consumer class. These include Robert Budi Hartona (47), who controls Bank Central Asia, Indonesia’s biggest non-state bank by assets, and the manufacturer of clove (or kretek) cigarettes through privately-owned Djarum.

Peter Sondakh’s (49) interests include taxi services and the Rajawali television network (in addition to his commodity interests) and Anthoni Salim’s (71) food retail operations are growing beyond Indofood’s traditional noodle manufacturing to convenience stores.

Susilo Wonowidjojo’s Guadang Garam, like Hartona’s Djarum, reaps profits from Indonesia’s addiction to nicotine, while Martua Sitorus (99) continued to receive strong, steady payments from Wilmar International, the sprawling international agri-business he set up with Singapore billionaire Kuok Khoon Hong.

Examining dividend income to determine rich list

FinanceAsia analyses the publicly listed assets of Asia (ex-Japan)’s leading business families and aggregates the dividends paid to them through their shareholdings or to their trusts or charitable foundations.

This methodology provides a more dynamic picture of wealth in the region than can be achieved by estimates of net worth, but clearly underestimates the fortunes of individuals and families whose wealth is mainly derived from non-income earning or wholly private assets. We identify a large universe of companies with large or controlling shareholders and gather information on ownership stakes and dividend payouts based on statements made to stock exchanges, newswires and, in the first instance, declarations made in annual reports.

Some holdings are opaque because of complex cross-shareholding structures such as the Lee family’s control of
Samsung and the Keswick’s control of Jardine Matheson, so there are inevitable instances of under-reporting of some tycoon’s wealth.

 

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