Beyond Crackers
    Category: Companies & People By : Ulisari Eslita Read : 2187 Date : Wednesday, November 30, 2016 - 10:19:48




    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    While many companies are suffering a loss or have thin margins, Sekar Group is doing well. Last year, one of its listed companies, Sekar Laut, enjoyed 9% sales growth to Rp 745 billion, while its net profit grew at 18% to Rp 20 billion. “We are selling daily food, that’s how we can survive,” says Harry Sunogo, president director of Sekar Laut.

    The Sekar group of companies focuses on the food business. Founded in 1966, the group is now celebrating five decades in business this year. The original company was founded by Harry Susilo (Harry Sunogo’s eldest brother). Starting as a marine-products trading company based in Surabaya, the Sekar group has grown into a producer of a diverse range of frozen and dry processed foods under the Finna brand, named after Harry Susilo’s eldest child, Finna Huang.

    The Sekar group’s main product is crackers. Last year, it produced 8,500 tonnes of a wide variety of crackers (most of them are shrimp crackers) or as much as Rp 229 billion. Why shrimp? Surabaya is located just 20 kilometers away from the Sidoarjo regency, which has long been known for its shrimps and white fish. “Since I was a kid, Sidoarjo was already producing much shrimp and white fish. Thus many home industries producing shrimp crackers are based there,” says Harry Susilo, founder of the Sekar group.

    As the country’s largest shrimp cracker producer, Sekar Laut processes five tonnes of shrimp into 30 tonnes of crackers every day. About 60% of the crackers are shipped to 30 countries, such as Netherlands, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and the U.S.; while the rest goes to the domestic market. This year, Sekar Laut is expected to grow at 10% and is planning on exporting shrimp crackers overseas. “As we are going to cater to more markets in the Middle East and Europe, we believe we can achieve the target,” says Harry Sunogo.

    Besides crackers, Sekar Laut also produces other products, such as chili sauce, seasoning and bread. As a relatively new product, launched only in 2014, chili sauce has been a big success. Last year, Sekar Laut sold Rp 115 billion of chili sauce last year—31% of the company’s income, on the back of sales up 28% year on year. “I think our chili sauce fits our customers’ expectations,” says Harry Sunogo.

    To boost chili sauce sales, this year Sekar Laut allocated Rp 100 billion in investment to build a chili sauce plant with 40 tonnes capacity per day. Located in Mojosari, the plant is expected to start production in 2018. Meanwhile, bread contributed Rp 33 billion last year, up 12% compared to the previous year. Most of the bread is sold to fast-food chains such as McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, and Carl’s Jr.   

    While Sekar Laut enjoyed good profit, on the other hand, Sekar Bumi sales declined as much as 8% due to less demand. Last year, it produced 18,578 tonnes of frozen products with total sales of Rp 1.3 trillion. As a part of Sekar group, Sekar Bumi is focusing on frozen food production, such as shrimp, fish and so on. Most of the shrimp is provided by its sister company, PT Bumi Harapan Jaya, which has 1,000 hectares of fishponds in Sumbawa. 

    This year, the company is expected to grow 40% by boosting both domestic and export markets. “We expect to enhance the domestic market by 20%,” says Harry Lukmito, president director of Sekar Bumi, another of Harry Susilo’s brothers (Harry Susilo and his five other brother share the same first name, Harry).

    In the second half of this year, Sekar Bumi will open a new plant in Tangerang. Sitting on 3.4 hectares, the plant has installed capacity of up to 1,000 tonnes per month. For this plant, the company will spend as much as Rp 200 billion, and the production is meant to serve the greater Jakarta market. As a consequence, the export market will decrease from 92% to 80% of total sales.

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