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Capital Markets

Asia: The Untouchables – Indonesia's Widjajas

Default? What default? Asia Pulp & Paper, Sinar Mas and the Widjaja family, once pariahs of the international financial markets, have bounced back with a vengeance. Are the memories of the banks financing them too short? Or are they backing a group that can deliver on both its repurposed business and environmental credentials?

Untouchables main-350

Illustrations: Britt Spencer

by Sara Webb


Indonesia’s enormous Sinar Mas group seems to be on a roll. Owned by the Widjaja family, one of the richest in the country, it is expanding in some of Jakarta’s most important, or priority, economic sectors. It has clinched eye-popping deals and borrowed billions of dollars in recent years to build the world’s biggest pulp mill as part of an ambitious expansion in southeast Asia, China and the UK. Yet it was not that long ago that this group was considered a pariah by the international financial community.


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