Fortunes Wealthiest Rise Despite Rupiah’s Slump

Michael Bambang Hartono. (Bloomberg Finance)

It’s been a mixed year for Indonesia. On the surface, the world’s fourth most populous nation looks to be humming. Amid continued economic growth, the stock market index rose 4.4% in the past 12 months. But as our annual list of Indonesia’s 50 richest shows, there was a grab bag of winners and losers.

Six of the ten richest are wealthier than a year ago, including the Hartono brothers at No. 1–their tenth year in that spot. They were buoyed by the strength of their Bank Central Asia, which accounts for 70% of their $35 billion fortune. Susilo Wonowidjojo climbs to the No. 2 spot–up one rank–thanks to a rise in shares of its kretek (cigarette) maker, Gudang Garam.

The difference between the net worths of No. 1 and No. 2 is 280%, the biggest gap of any Forbes wealth list this year. Sri Prakash Lohia also inches up, to No. 4 this year, in large part due to a higher value for his stake in Bangkok-listed petrochemicals producer Indorama Ventures. The fortune of Bachtiar Karim (No. 21) and family rose 61% since last year due to a significant uptick in revenues of palm oil firm Musim Mas.

Overall, Indonesia’s tycoons are wealthier: The total net worth of the country’s 50 richest climbed to $129 billion, a record high and up from $126 billion a year ago. Impressively, the minimum net worth needed to make the list rose to $600 million–a significant $150 million jump since 2017 and the highest cutoff since 2013. ****