“Family makes Life worth Living”
Sekar Group : “A Family Business to Serve Yours Families.”
Mr Harry Susilo or Huang Shi Wei was born in 1941 to his Father Mr Oei You Pien, a Fisherman from Fujian Province, China, and his Mother Mrs Tjoe Bie Seng, a third generation Chinese Indonesian. Mr Susilo’s family came from humble beginnings and when Mr Susilo was one year old, his family moved to a rented 4 bedroom house in the town of Sidoarjo, a fishing village in Surabaya.
In 1965, his 51 year old Father suffered from a stroke and was unable to work. Mr Susilo, the eldest of twelve siblings, had to take on the responsibility to provide for the entire family, thus Mr Susilo dropped out from school and started his career. In 1966, a family friend of Mr Susilo’s father from Singapore visited the family and saw their hardship, he provided Mr Susilo with capital, training and an opportunity to buy marine products to be shipped to Singapore by air transport, thus the beginning of his business career.
Mr Susilo hired 5 workers who would wait with him at Surabaya’s ports each evening to buy fish from the Fishermen and he would drive for 2 hours to ship the fish to the warehouse he had rented. Arriving at the warehouse, he would help the workers to weigh, wash and pack the fish, as well as deliver the products to the airport by 5am before the 7am flight departs to Jakarta and onto the final destination Singapore. Mr Susilo did this tedious work for more than 2 years, sleeping when people were awake and working when people were sleeping. Despite the challenges he faced, he never complained to his family.
In 1968, “As Indonesia was experiencing financial difficulties and adopting relatively open international trade and financial policies”, Mr Susilo recalls. A trade delegation from Japan was invited to visit the City of Surabaya to explore business opportunities. A businessman named Mr Kikuchi from Toyo Menka Company who was part of the Japanese trade delegation to Indonesia had saw a shipment of Mr Susilo’s marine products at the airport. Mr Kikuchi took down the contact details from the shipment box and contacted Mr Susilo. He invited Mr Susilo to be Toyo Menka’s agent, buying shrimp throughout Indonesia and delivering them to Jakarta. This co-operation substantially increase Mr Susilo’s business volume and profit, and thus was the beginning of Mr Susilo’s foray into international business and partnership.
Long bisnis part and friends : Harry Susilo with Mr Kikuchi (right) of Tokyo Menka Company. Mr Kikuchi was a timely benefactor to Harry when he was first starting his business.
Harry Susilo Private Limited was renamed Sekar Private Ltd. in 1968. In 1971, Toyo Menka proposed a capital injection into Sekar Private Ltd. to help Mr Susilo build cold chain facilities in Indonesia by which Mr Susilo would eventually own them after 5 years. Mr Susilo was unsure of his humble family’s ability to bear the potential risks associated with the proposal, thus he did not accept the proposal immediately. Mr Kikuchi was impressed by Mr Susilo’s honesty and sincerity. After a year of encouragement and support, Toyo Menka sent lawyers to visit Mr Susilo and offer him an instalment loan instead with Toyo Menka as a guarantor. The Lawyer was also instructed to offer Mr Susilo a commission and a bonus for his hard work if he achieved certain milestones. With all his concerns dispelled by persuasion and favourable loan terms, Mr Susilo signed the agreement. The following month, the two companies decided to form PT Sekar Bumi Tbk to build Cold Storage facilities. As a result of working with Toyo Menka, Mr Susilo learned advanced management and operation concepts.
In the 1980s, Sekar Private Ltd. pioneered the technology advancement of Shrimp Cracker Manufacturing and became a supplier of partially processed Shrimp Crackers for Japan’s Marubeni Corporation. In order to meet the growing consumer appetite and demand, Sekar Private Ltd. had to increase production capacity and product quality. To meet the sophisticated standards of consumers in developed countries, Susilo introduced advanced processing equipment and facilities from overseas as well as recruited and trained employees in the areas of product research, production, inspection, and quality control, thus Sekar Private Ltd. built a Dry Food’s processing company that would later be known as PT Sekar Laut Tbk which went public in 1993, establishing a renown brand known in Indonesia and Globally as “Finna” named after Susilo’s eldest daughter. As Sekar Private Ltd. continually expanded it became known as Sekar Group in the early 1990s, forming a subsidiary company under PT Sekar Laut Tbk known as PT Pangan Lestari that operates warehouse and logistics that would sell and distribute Sekar Group’s products as well as “Finna” brand all over Indonesia.
With its successes in the 1980s and early 1990s, Sekar Group entered a stage of rapid expansion with a diversified investment strategy. Under the Finna brand, it has developed hundreds of products in Agriculture Commodities, Marine Product Commodities, and Value-Added Food Processing. As a Food Manufacturer, Sekar Group has always pride itself in using natural and healthy raw materials to ensure the highest quality products by working with our community of farmer cooperatives to ensure sustainable raw material supply and community development. In addition, Sekar Group invest heavily into research and development, introduction of new technologies to improve production process and innovation. Through its partnership with multinational companies, Sekar Group has developed a network into the global marketplace. Besides being a Food Manufacturer, the Group has investments in diverse sectors, such as Animal Feed and Breeding, Agriculture Plantation, Aquaculture, Real Estate and Tourism, Healthcare, and Mining.