Wison Kohar was pronounced dead in an obituary in Bisnis Indonesia last Wednesday (June 8, 2011). The announcement took two pages. One page mentioned a whole list member of his big family and another page were a condolences remark dedicated from his staff & management of 14 companies. I see no other announcement in Kompas, the Jakarta Post, the Jakarta Globe or even the business daily Kontan and Investor Daily, at least at the same date. Condolences remarks from another parties comes in the following day, one of them coming from Martias and family, the owner of Surya Dumai Group. Martias son create new business group namely Ciliandra, the owner of plantation company First Resources Limited– listed in Singapore Stock Exchange.
Two pages full of announcement, in this case obituary, in Bisnis Indonesia could worth Rp 200 million, after tax and discount. That is quite significant for someone whose name rarely shows up in the media coverage. So, who is Wison Kohar?The obituary says Wison Kohar AKA Kwok Hwie Siang died at the age of 99 in June 4, 2011 at 2 am. The funeral were held a week after his dead in Sentong Baru Lawang, a Chinese cemetary complex lies in one mountain area in Wonorejo village, East Java.
Wison name may not in the 40 richest Indonesian list of Forbes. You hardly find any news about the man, albeit you can find some of his family business products in the market easily. He is the founder of the Panggung Group, a sub-group of the Bank Rama Group. Together with his son in law, Joseph Gondobintoro AKA Gouw Boan Tjon (deceased), and Lekong Koharwaranto AKA Kwok Kwoan Hwa establish the group in the early of 1970-s in Surabaya, East Java. The city then became the center of their business activities.
It is estimated that Wison and members of his family hold 20%-22% ownership in the Panggung Group, while Joseph hold another 35%-39% of stake. Wison was married to Rosin Kohar. He is the father of 11 children, five son and six daughters, and now has 32 grandchildren (15 of them are granddaughter). While Joseph, who married Wison’s oldest daughter Erlan, was the father of three: Judson, Jeffrey, and Mike Gondobintoro. For the record, the last one mention is also spelled as Mieke in one official document. Joseph was born in Lamongan in February 23, 1942. There is no data about his death date. Joseph was known as a quite dynamic businessman. He is assisted by many professionals, and supported by Kindarto Kohar, number four son of Wison. Kindarto now is the president commissioner of PT Trikomsel Oke Tbk, cellular product and services provider, one of the Panggung Group business.
The Panggung Group’s activities are in the electronics industry, OPP film manufacturing, financial services, textile industry, and (now their offspring also put some investment in) the plantation business. The group first business was in distribution and marketing of electronic goods through PT Panggung Electric Citrabuana (PEC), originally named PT Panggung Electronic Industries. They started the business by taking over the marketing and distribution of Maxell products of Japan.
Later, the company expanded its operations by producing electronic goods like radio and television sets, audio and video sets, magnetic tapes, and wooden cabinets in their factory in Jalan Raya Waru No. 1, Sidoarjo. The factory has been in operation since 1973. Since 1994, PEC has been acting as distributor of GE Telephones and since 1996 as distributor of GE Appliances of the USA. In the development of its marketing network, PEC operates branch offices in 22 big cities in Indonesia. They also have one branch office in Netherlands, appointed Chinyee Impact Pte Ltd Singapore as sole agent in the city country, and CV Dwi Paramitha Lestari as sole distributor in East Java.
PEC owns 20% of the shares of PT Tabung Gambar Indonesia, the local partner in PT Tosummit Electronics Device Indonesia (TEDI), a joint venture with Toshiba Corp., Sumitomo Corp. (both of Japan), and Orion Electronic Co Ltd of South Korea. TEDI is the first producer of TV picture tubes in Indonesia.
Some 65% of the company’s production of TV and audio sets are exported to several countries such as Singapore, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Chile, Peru, Senegal, Mozambique, Nigeria, and some other African countries. 90% of its wooden cabinets are exported to Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. In 1998, the company’s TV and audio sets production dropped 50% to just 10,000 units per month. Some of the brands they use to market their products are Akari, JVC, Maxell, Teac, Panarec. In 1999, PEC had a bad debt of Rp 543 billion to Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency.
The group expanded its operation into the textile industry by taking over part of the business stakes of the Vastex Prima Group, a private business group founded in Malang. Vastex is a business group headed and largely owned by Jaikishin Chattaram and Arunggam Subramaniam. PT Vastex Prima Industries, a member of Panggung Group, manages a plant in Ujung Berung, Bandung. The plant produces gent filament fancy suiting, texturized POY and FOY yarns, flock velvet, filament yarn polyester, etc. The plant has been in operation since 1981.
In the packaging material business, the Panggung Group has PT Trias Sentosa Tbk. The company operates BOPP film manufacturing, managing two plant units in Waru and Keboharan village in Sidoarjo, which have been operation since 1984. In 1995, the group entered into cooperation with A. Schulman Inc. of the USA in establishing a company operating in the plastic compound industry.
The Panggung Group also operates bank, insurance, financial services, and other business. Some of the companies related to the group are PT Bank Astria Raya, PT Bank Rama, PT Asuransi Rama Life, PT Rama Multi Finance, PT Asuransi Rama Satria Wibawa, PT Sucorinvest Central Gani, PT ALP Petro Industry, PT A. Schulman Plastics, PT Bhinneka Tatamulya Industri, PT Gani Aset Manajemen, PT K and L Capital, PT Oil Tanking Merak, PT Pan Pacific Oto Finance, Astria Packaging Pte Ltd, Tianjin Sushine Plastics Co Ltd.
The hype investment in the plantation business has also attracts the grand children, Gondobintoro, to put their money through GMG Global Ltd (GMG), a Singapore-based plantation group, an integrated producer of natural rubber engaged in the planting, growing, tapping, processing, marketing and exporting of natural rubber. The Group’s emphasis is on producing premium rubber products for Europe, American and Asian markets. In their web sites the company says they dedicated the business to long-term investments in Central, West Africa, and Asia. Jeffrey Gondobintoro served as vice president and executive director of GMG. He is also responsible for the group’s operations in Indonesia: PT Bumi Jaya and PT GMG Sentosa. His brother, Judson Gondobintoro, manage a cargo business in Bali, PT Dua Sahabat Cargo.