INDONESIA WELCOMES YOU

Indonesia 2018 | INDUSTRY | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Sri Prakash Lohia, Group Chairman of Indorama, on developing in-demand products, finding success in Indonesia, and giving back.

 Sri Prakash Lohia
BIOGRAPHY
Sri Prakash Lohia is the founder of Indorama Corporation. He established PT Indo-Rama Synthetics along with his father in 1975. He has over 40 years of experience in the manufacturing industry and sits on the boards of various companies of the group. He is also the Chairman of Indorama Ventures Public Company Limited, listed on the Thai Stock Exchange. He has a bachelor’s of commerce degree from the University of Delhi.

What do you consider to be Indorama's main achievements?

The group has grown from USD10 million to almost USD10 billion over the last 40 years. We are extremely proud of our history and our origins in Indonesia. The people of this country and company are the ones who make the real difference. We employ over 10,000 people in Indonesia and over 30,000 people worldwide. To produce industrial goods, a company needs great people. Indonesia is where it all began for us. This is a great country and one that supports industry. We are a large producer and exporter of products. We export to almost 80 countries around the world. We are competitive, and a great deal of the competitiveness derives from our relationship with Indonesia. Demand for our products is growing worldwide. It has grown around 5-10% YoY over the last 40 years. Our growth is in line with GDP plus a little extra. The local market is also growing. Our plastics business is growing particularly well as they are used for basic consumer goods. Fibers for textiles are also strong. Fertilizers are doing well, and demand is growing around the world. Many of our Indonesian products are export oriented.

What are the strategies that allow foreign companies to succeed in Indonesia?

Indonesia is a transparent place, and people welcome foreigners. They want foreigners to come and succeed. We are pleased to have had a great relationship with our Indonesian counterparts for the last 40 years. The quality of the people and the community has truly been one of the secrets to our success. In some places, manpower is an issue; however, in Indonesia it is a strength. The Indonesian workforce is well trained. We recently built a world-class engineering polytechnic principally for the underpriviliged children of our local community as well as our Indonesian employees, which is heavily subsidized by our group as well as our partners. We currently have 240 students and this allows us to give something back to society. We want to improve the skills of these students, create knowledge, and illustrate how grateful we are.

What are your investment and development plans?

We have a large CAPEX for new projects as well as to upgrade our existing operations. We need to continuously upgrade and replace our plant and machinery. We must have faith in the country and the business and must continue to invest. We always reinvest our earnings in the business, which is why our product is of such high quality and why our people are so pleased. We want to keep costs down while improving production and efficiency.

As a businessman, what legacy would you like to leave in Indonesia?

Our legacy is demonstrating that those from other countries have succeeded while believing in and supporting local culture and people. This is a free country and anyone can succeed in business. Hard work is the key to success in this country. The national infrastructure and government structure are also key, and they have been supportive. We are a public company; however, our family is the majority shareholder. The most important thing is to run a family company like any other corporation. We must have rapid decision-making, hard workers, and a focus on lowering costs. A company also needs to have a long-term focus. It needs great financial management, and people should trust the company.

How do you expect the company and the economy to change over the next year?

We hope the Jakarta metro will start operations in 2018. We also hope all the infrastructure projects in the country will be further along, which will put a smile on our faces. Traveling in this country can take a long time, and we hope to see this improving. We have an overburdened system, though this is the price one pays for industrialization.