Businessman of the Year
    Category: Main Features By : Ardian Wibisono Read : 7521 Date : Sunday, January 12, 2014 - 18:41:50

    Ahmad Zamroni / Forbes Indonesia

    Iwan S. Lukminto, 38, takes a very personal approach to his running of Sritex, the largest integrated textile company in Southeast Asia by sales. He personally spent about one week to create the camouflage design for the Indonesian Army's official uniforms. The design he made was patterned after a map of Indonesia, in which one can recognize the islands of Java, Kalimantan, Papua, Sulawesi and Sumatra. “We named it NKRI, inspired by the country's geography, which is an archipelago. I made it before presenting it to the Army chief of staff,” says Iwan, the president director of PT Sri Rejeki Isman, the full name of Sritex.

    Textiles are one of Indonesia's oldest industries. The Sritex group, first under the founder Haji Mohammad Lukminto and now under his son Iwan, has found a way to bring innovation and growth to this mature sector. Iwan, who has lead the company as president director since 2006, is named businessman of the year for his achievements, along with those of his father, in building up the Sritex group in recent years. Most significantly, Iwan was able to list the company on the stock market in mid-June, with excellent timing before global markets started to wobble soon thereafter. The issue was three times oversubscribed, disproving the notion that investors thought Sritex was in a sunset industry.

    “We are looking for long-term growth,” says Iwan, noting that he wants to help his customers expand their business, so they will want to buy more from Sritex. “The customer is not the king, the customer is our family,” says Iwan. While Iwan's father (known as H.M.) continues to play a vital strategic role and come to the office daily, it is Iwan who is now doing most of the day-to-day management. “Iwan knows the company best now,” says the father. The children are no stranger to the business, having visited and played around the factories during their childhood.

    Iwan got an early trial by fire during the Asian financial crisis of 1997, when he had just returned from Boston University with a degree in business administration, and had started as an assistant director at the firm. At the time, the company had just $50 million in revenues. Although Sritex was well managed and had no dollar-denominated debt, and thus had little to fear directly from the crisis, it was in danger from being hurt as most of its suppliers, financial backers, local customers and others around were in crisis—for example, banks were reluctant to provide credit. Iwan and his father got to work reassuring clients, banks and others that it was business as usual, and to stick with them despite the turmoil. That policy of active reassurance paid off.

    Fast forward to today. Sritex's net profit doubled to Rp 229 billion in 2012 from Rp 114 billion in 2008 and its revenue grew on average at almost 13% during the same period. The succession in 2006 to Iwan has gone well. “Iwan has made tremendous improvements in the company,” says H.M., whose title is now president commissioner. The Lukminto family is now worth about $600 million, based on shares they own in the listed Sritex plus an estimate of their privately held assets.