Universe of Gold
    Category: Entrepreneurs By : Shintya Felicitas Read : 434 Date : Thursday, January 04, 2018 - 15:16:31

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    Gold has been always a symbol of prosperity, and President Director of PT Untung Bersama Sejahtera (UBS) Eddy Susanto Yahya, 38, savors the fact that his Surabaya-based gold business, has brought much fortune for his family. Eddy’s father, Untung Yahya, and two of his siblings started the business in 1976, when they opened a gold jewelry store in Tambakrejo, Surabaya.

    The store did well, so they opened a second store, and then decided to establish a humble home industry to produce their own products. “Back then, we had very limited capital. We only had five jewelry artisans and a casting machine made in Taiwan. But the output was amazing and our business was growing tremendously,” explains Eddy.

    In 1981, they set up CV Untung to cast gold jewelry (later renamed as PT Untung Bersama Sejahtera). Now, it employs 3,300 people and produces four tonnes of gold jewelry monthly using Italian jewelry technology. With the average of gold price around Rp 550,000 per gram, Forbes Indonesia calculates the revenue of UBS reached at least Rp 2.2 trillion per month.

    Eddy joined his family business in 2001, after he got his bachelor degree from Purdue University, in the U.S., and finished an Italian language course in Italy—as many of UBS partners and machine suppliers are Italian. At 22, he had to manage a production department with 450 employees. “I was stressed out. When my friends were still happily playing basket ball, I had to work overtime for the business,” he says. “But it has trained me to be a tough person and I understand that success is when we are able to adapt with any kind of situation.”

    The price of UBS jewelry ranges between Rp 200,000 to Rp 50 million. However, the thin margin profit of gold business, only about 1%, means the company must focus on high volume to grow profits. To do that, the family early on—about 20 years ago—started to export its products. Around 70% of UBS’s production is exported worldwide, from developed markets like the U.S. and Europe, to less developed markets such as South America. Total jewelry exports in 2016 were $6.4 billion, up 3.7% from 2015, of which Eddy claims UBS is one of the largest exporters (while declining to give exact figure).

    Meanwhile, the rest of production is sold in Indonesia under the UBS brand through 15,000 gold stores across the country. Most is sold to distributors (75%) and big retailers. Eddy claims UBS’s competitive strengths are its designs and the purity of its gold. “We are an integrated gold jewelry company that can do casting, chaining, stamping, and all the other processes of producing jewelry by ourselves. Our company is like a complete universe of gold, and there are only a few companies in the world that have the same level of integration as we do,” he says.

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