Indonesia's top 50 tycoons now $13b poorer

JAKARTA • Indonesia's richest tycoons have seen their wealth shrink by US$9 billion (S$12.7 billion) this year because of a prolonged fall in commodity prices and a weaker currency, based on a Forbes list released yesterday.

The collective wealth of Indonesia's 50 richest fell to US$92 billion, down 9 per cent from levels a year earlier, the business magazine said. Six tycoons lost their billionaire status, including Mr Edwin Soeryadjaya and Mr Sukanto Tanoto.

Mr Soeryadjaya owns a stake in Saratoga Investama Sedaya, which has interests in commodities such as coal and oil. Its stock price has dropped 26 per cent so far this year. Mr Tanoto owns Asian Agri, one of Indonesia's largest palm oil producers.

South-east Asia's biggest economy grew slightly faster in the third quarter, thanks to higher levels of government spending - but not enough to show that a real turnaround has started.

The rupiah has dropped around 10 per cent this year, which makes it Asia's second-worst-performing emerging market currency.

"It was a challenging year for the Indonesian economy, and the declines across the board of the wealthiest in the country reflected that reality," Forbes said in a statement.

Despite the decline in overall wealth, tobacco tycoons remained at the top of the nation's rich list. Brothers Budi and Michael Hartono, who control cigarette maker Djarum, led the way with a net worth of US$15.4 billion, while Mr Susilo Wonowidjojo of Gudang Garam came next with US$5.5 billion.

Third on the list was Mr Anthoni Salim of the Salim Group, which has assets that include instant noodle maker Indofood Sukses Makmur.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 04, 2015, with the headline 'Indonesia's top 50 tycoons now $13b poorer'. Print Edition | Subscribe