JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Aburizal Bakrie is one of charismatic and richest man in Indonesia. In Bakrie Group, he leads the company into various industry like mining, construction, telecommunication, information, steel industry, and mass media.

In 1992, Bakrie Group established a private television company PT Cakrawala Andalas Televisi (ANTV). Then, in 1993, the company entered into telecommunication sector with PT Radio Telepon Indonesia (Ratelindo) that changed it’s name into PT Bakrie Telecom Tbk that produced mobile phone Esia.

In 1990’s, Bakrie Group acquired Australia Link Communication and expanded it’s telecomunication’s operation to the Republic of Uzbeskistan. Bakrie Group also acquired PT Bumi Resource (BUMI) and changed it’s main business from hotel and tourism into mining and oil and gas. The change of it’s main business made BUMI grew fasters and accquired the share of Gallo Oil (Jersey) Ltd.

Even BUMI acquired 80 percent of PT Arutmin Indonesia shares, a fourth biggest  coal producer  in Indonesia and focused on mining sector.

During his term as the chairman of Indonesia Chamber of Commerce from 1994-2004, Aburizal was succes to make the institution as an influencial organization that had a sya in the government policy. It was because he can settle some issue like the smuggling of sugar, wood, rice that was rampant at the time.

The 1998 economic crisis has forced Bakrie to have only 2.5% left of his share in Bakrie & Brothers because he had to restructure his debt with some creditors. That made Bakrie Group start to do acquisition and expand it’s business.

His business expanded into various sectors including, palm oil plantation to property business. They were busy also hunting new oil field and mining. It also expanded into new business like telecomunication, toll road and drinking waters.

In 2000, Bakrie Group started to focus on oil and gas through PT Energi Mega Perasada (ENRG) which is the most active in developing and exploration at  upstream oil and gas sector. Energi Mage Persada started to offer it’s share to public in 2006.

At 10 p.m in the night , on May 29, 2006 in a drilling location of oil well Banjar Panji -1 owned by PT Lapindo Brantas (owned by ENRG, Medco and Santos Australia) hot muds spewed from the well. The disaster had made more than 10 thousands people went into refugee camps, and 400 hectars of land submerged by the muds including paddies field, houses, plants and schools.

An axis road from Sidoarjo to Surabaya city was damaged and the East Java economy was paralyzed. The disaster was caused by a mistake in drilling .Another rumors said that the spew of the muds was caused by 5.9 SR earthquake that shattered Jogjakarta in May 27, 2006.

The earthqauke caused serious damages to Prambanan Temple, while Borobudur Temple located not far from Prambanan was only lightly damaged. Some parties were confusing on why the earthquake can make the Lapindo muds spew several meters for years. The disaster located 280 kilometers from Yogyakarta while Borobudur only located 40 km.

According to Ir. Amien Widodo MT, a geologist and the chairman of Disaster Study Center at Surabaya Institute of Technology, the burst of muds can only happen if the earthquake has 6 Richter Scale but the efects if the earthquake that reached Porong and souronding area were only 2.2 in Richter Scale.

Despite  that, the government had determined Lapindo mud as a national disaster and since 2007 to 2012 Indonesia government had allocated Rp 6.2 trillion to settle the issue of Lapindo mud. Some parties opposed the decision because the disaster was caused by a fault in drilling that was supported by evidences that there was no bulding damaged by the earthquake in Sidoarjo.

On the other side, Rizal started to be calculated aming the most rich Indonesian according to Forbes version. In 20016, Forbes magazine named him among the richest men in Indonesia with US$ 1.2 billion. His wealth multiplied due to the development of PT Bakrie & Brothers ‘ sibsidiary in mining industry, PT Bumi Resource. Bakrie Group got the benefits from two things, first the soaring price of commodities in world market and the entering of global investors to Asia -Pacific capital market.

Coal price that become BUMI product rocketted from US$ 50 per ton at the end of 2006 to US$ 90 per ton in the end of 2007. With doubling price, BUMI shares were being hunted by investor in the market. Only in one year, BUMI’s share price increased 6 times from Rp 920 per share at the end of 2006 to Rp 6000 in December 26, 2007 . The market capitalization of BUMI jumped to Rp116.4 trillion second after PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia.

In 2007, estimated that Bakrie had US$ 5.4 billion in wealth and made him the richest man in Indonesia. After 2018 economic crisis, Bakrie wealth dropped to nineth position with US$ 850 million.

Previously, in 2007, Bakrie Group started to expand into media business by establishing VIVAnews.com in 2012 that later changed into viva.co.id. In 2009 his wealth increased to US$ 2.5 billion.

One year later, Bakrie group started to involve in many problem, from balooning debt to share repo of it’s subsidiary. Aburizal wealth dropped into US$ 2.1 billion and made his position among the richest dropped into tenth. In 2011, his position dropped again to 30 th with US$ 890 million in wealth. In 2012, his wealth also dropped again because he made his assets as guarantee to seek for loand and made him being excluded from the list of richest men in Indonesia according to Forbes.

Written by Staff Editor, Email: theinsiderstories@gmail.com