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Motoring ahead: Sadikin Aksa

Since taking the helm of Bosowa from his father, Sadikin Aksa shows no signs of pressing the brakes anytime soon.

Since its founding in 1973 as an official dealer of Datsun automobiles, Bosowa – named after the three Bugis kingdoms, Bone, Soppeng and Wajo – broadened to five new industries over the next 47 years, with interests in cement, mining and energy, financial services, property and education. With Sadikin Aksa as President Director, the family-owned empire is on the cusp of entering its third generation of ownership.

Sadikin Aksa heads up the family business

Cement continues to form the core part of Bosowa’s business, with the company’s Maros and Batam factories accounting for a significant majority – 65% – of its revenue, and aims to control 10% of Indonesia’s cement market within the next year. Most recently, in December 2016, it opened a new plant in Banyuwangi in East Java worth R800 billion.

However, Sadikin hopes to build up the other businesses in order to lower that figure to around 30%. Alongside the Banyuwangi plant, Bosowa opened a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) terminal worth R787 billion. To help that along, the company is looking to broaden its investments in the mining sector even further, and is nsidering new ventures in coal, nickel and tin.

The second of five children to founder and owner Aksa Mahmud, Sadikin was appointed to head Bosowa in 2015, eight years after eldest son, Erwin, succeeded their father in the post in 2007. Erwin now has a role in the company as president commissioner.

Bosowa Corporation gives back to the community

As might be the case with any family-owned business, a decent succession plan was always front of mind for the family patriarch, who placed much of his attention on maintaining strong relationships among the family’s second generation (as well as Erwin and Sadikin, there are three younger siblings, Melinda, Atira and Subhan).

To maintain cohesion, the family meets every quarter to discuss business and personal issues, something Mahmud says instils a strong ethical grounding in his children and plays a major part in maintaining the sustainability of the company. In addition, the family hopes to turn Bosowa into a publicly listed company before the next generation, currently comprising 12 grandchildren, becomes involved in the business.

As well as his father and brother, Erwin, Sadikin has a spot in Indonesia Tatler’s 500 List, identifying the country’s biggest movers and shakers.

In recognition of its success in Indonesia and as a way of giving back to the local people, Bosowa also established a not-for-profit foundation focused on education, humanities and culture.

One of the foundation’s initiatives is the Bosowa Merit Scholarship, offered to students from South Sulawesi “with high achievements, honourable personalities and strong leadership spirits”, an opportunity to pursue an undergraduate degree at one of Indonesia’s leading universities.

We will never stop moving forward

Despite the pressures, both personal and professional, that go with handling a family business, Sadikin remains unfazed. “The times have changed. The economy changes every five years; just a few years ago, it changed every 10 years. It changes faster now and we have to adjust,” Sadikin told Forbes Indonesia in 2015.

The economy changes every five years; just a few years ago, it changed every 10 years. It changes faster now and we have to adjust.

Sadikin even makes time to pursue his interests outside Bosowa. An avid motorcyle racer, he is also chairman of Ikatan Motor Indonesia for the current term, from 2016 to 2020. The Aksa family continues to be a major force in Indonesian society.

Even though Aksa Mahmud has not had an active role in Bosowa for the best part of a decade, he still commands a net worth of more than US$860 million and is number 34 on Indonesia’s 50 Richest People, according to Forbes. With such a strong hold on the Indonesian market, Sadikin hopes to elevate Bosowa into a global player in the same way his older brother lifted the company from a local to a national player.

“Only businesses that are well prepared can lead the transformation. That is what motivates Bosowa to be dynamic and adaptive to change,” Sadikin says. “Even with all our achievements, we will never stop moving forward.”

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