Royal Golden Eagle

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Royal Golden Eagle International (RGE, previously Raja Garuda Mas) is one of the leading integrated, resource-based industrial groups in Asia Pacific, with businesses in paper, palm oil, construction and energy. Owned by Indonesian businessman Sukanto Tanoto, the group employs 60,000 people worldwide with assets exceeding US$18 billion.[1][2][3] Tanoto, with a net worth of US$2.3 billion (November 2013), is one of Indonesia’s richest individuals.[4][5]


Sukanto Tanoto founded his first business in 1967 supplying spare parts to the oil and construction industries in Indonesia,[6] before winning contracts in building gas pipelines for multinationals in 1972.[7] His business grew considerably following the 1973 oil crisis when he open his own plywood mill in Indonesia.[1] He diversified into palm oil in 1979. Since 1985, Tanoto’s companies have planted 30,000 acres of palm oil plantation each year, with plantations spread over three provinces in Sumatra with a total land area of 160,000 hectares.[1] He listed the public pulp and paper business Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings (APRIL) on the New York Stock Exchange in 1995, delisting it in 2001.[8] The company moved its base to Singapore in 1997 in order to mitigate the effects of a global travel ban that had been placed upon Indonesia at the time.[1] In 2011 APRIL became a founding member of the Indonesia Business Council for Sustainable Development.[2]

Business Structure[edit]

From its base in Singapore, the company conducts activities across four business sectors: pulp and paper; agro industry; dissolving wood pulp and viscose staple fibre; and energy resource development.[1]

Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Limited (APRIL)[edit]

Located in the Riau province of Indonesia, APRIL operates one of the world’s largest pulp and paper mills.[9] With an annual pulp production capacity of 2.8 million tons and an annual fine paper production capacity of 820,000 tons,[10] it generates employment opportunities for 90,000 local people and represents 6.9% of Riau Province’s economic output (2009).[11]

Asia Symbol[edit]

Established in Shandong and Guangdong, China in 2005, Asia Symbol has an annual production capacity of 1.5 million tons of pulp, 450,000 tons of fine paper and 520,000 tons of paper board. Its Shandong plant operates the world’s largest single pulp production line, with state-of-the-art manufacturing technology and environment protection practices.[12]

BoardOne (博旺 in Chinese), the flagship brand of paperboard products of Shandong mill, covers main end applications e.g. liquid packaging (LPB, for aseptic and fresh dairy), food packaging (for dry and frozen foodstuff) cigarette packaging, pharmaceutical and beatycare/healthcare packaging, food service and graphics etc. BoardOne can be found in Europe, Americas, ME and Asia market. BoardOne is featured with printability, and runnability on high speed packaging lines.

There are two lines producing BoardOne products.BM11 has a web width of 3.6m, grammage range of 190-380g, main products are FBB and SBS; BM12 has a web width of 4.6m, grammage range of 170-400g, mainly LPB, cigarette packaging boards and food packaging/service boards (cup stock and cup plate etc.).

There are two pulp lines located in Shandong mill. BHKP and BSKP can be supplied internally for BoardOne board making.

Asian Agri[edit]

Asian Agri is one of Asia’s largest palm oil producers, with an annual crude palm oil production capacity of one million tons with 28 oil palm plantations, 19 palm oil mills and 160,000 hectares of palm plantation.[13]

Apical Group Limited[edit]

Apical, with operations in Indonesia and China, is one Indonesia's largest exporters of palm oil with refining, processing and trading of palm oil for both domestic use and international export. The company's operations in include four refineries, a biodiesel plant and a crushing plant.[14]

Bracell Limited[edit]

Bracell Limited (Bracell, SEHK1768) is one of the largest specialty cellulose producers in the world. Its operations are in Brazil. It produces different grades of specialty cellulose.[15]

It was formerly known as Sateri Holdings Limited, which undergone a name change on February 26, 2015.[16] Bracell was privatized on Oct 24, 2016.[17]

RGE completed the acquisition of Lwarcel Celulose from Lwart Group on Aug 31, 2018. Lwarcel will be managed under Bracell Group.[18]


Sateri is one of the world's largest viscose staple fiber producers, with a design annual production capacity of 360,000 metric tonnes of viscose staple fiber. It has operations in China, comprising a viscose staple fiber production facility in Putian, Fujian, and a mill in Jiangxi.[19]

Asia Pacific Rayon[edit]

Asia Pacific Rayon is the first fully integrated viscose rayon producer in Asia, with a 240,000-tonne capacity mill located in Pangkalan Kerinci.[20]

Pacific Oil & Gas[edit]

Pacific Oil & Gas is an independent energy resources development company. It develops, builds, owns and operates cost-competitive projects throughout the energy supply chain.[21] Concentrated on the exploration and production of oil & gas in Indonesia. Its midstream and downstream operations include an LNG receiving terminal and a Combined Cycle Gas Turbine power plant in China. In addition, it is currently developing gas-fired power plants in China, coal-fired power plants in Indonesia and an LNG export facility in Canada.[21]

Environment & Community[edit]

In 2014, Royal Golden Eagle was under considerable pressure from international environmental organisations to improve:

  • World Business Council for Sustainable Development told APRIL that it would be expelled from the organisation if it did not end deforestation within 12 months, noting a government estimate that 60% of its pulp came from the rainforest. It also recommended that all Royal Golden Eagle companies should be included in the commitment, not just APRIL.[22]
  • The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) gave a cautious response to APRIL's announced Sustainable Forest Management Policy, noting that the policies did not go far enough and that previous commitments had not been honoured. It recommends that external parties should 'wait and see' before sourcing or investing in APRIL or associated businesses.[23]
  • Greenpeace claimed that APRIL, along with its sister companies, "is the greatest threat to the Indonesian rainforest".[24]

In June 2015, both Greenpeace and WWF welcomed the commitments made by RGE and APRIL to zero deforestation across their supply chains.[25][26][27][28]

In December 2015, APRIL announced a US$100 million investment in conservation and eco-restoration of peatland in Riau, spanning 150,000 hectares.[29][30][31][32]

The company and its business groups engage local communities and NGOs to develop programs for community development and fire prevention, to great success.[33]

In 2011 the Rainforest Action Network has named APRIL as one of Indonesia’s most destructive corporations cutting rainforests and replacing them with monoculture acacia pulp wood plantations grown on these cleared rainforests and peatlands. APRIL and another major company under separate ownership, Asia Pulp & Paper, produce 80 percent of Indonesia’s pulp and paper.[34]

According to the company:

  • All Royal Golden Eagle companies operate with a strong commitment to sustainability, social awareness and environmental responsibility.[35]
  • APRIL, in particular, illustrates this commitment through active management of its concession lands, maintenance of High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF) and the use of science-based land and water practices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from degraded peatland forests.[9] This HCVF concept was first introduced to Indonesia by RGE founder Sukanto Tanoto, in collaboration with both government organisations and NGOs. It ensures allocation of at least 20% of his company's concessions to the conservation of Indonesia's natural forests, enforcement of anti-logging policies and harvesting of only Acacia trees.[36]
  • APRIL has also shown a commitment to implementing practices that mitigate climate change and promote sustainability. It is focused on optimising its fibre plantation land by ensuring replanting within eight weeks of completing a harvest. Peatland fibre plantations are also managed using an eco-hydro water management system that actively regulates water levels, helping to minimise both subsidence and carbon emissions generated by the peat. Mixed landscapes of plantation and conservation areas also feature hydro-buffer zones, in which water-tolerant species of acacia are planted alongside indigenous species of trees to enable higher water levels to be maintained in the peat.[9]
  • APRIL was the first pulp and paper company in Indonesia to release a sustainability report of this nature.[37]
  • The company only harvests degraded forest land on its 330,000 hectare concession - that is, land that has been stripped of trees which are then reforested and turned into sustainable plantations by the company. It aims to source all the wood for its mills from fast-growing plantations that can generate a renewable raw material source quickly and sustainably - primarily using fast-growing Acacia trees.[37]
  • It is a strong advocate of the "no-burn" policy, integrated pest control management, soil moisture preservation and other environmental best practices.[38]
  • APRIL's presence in Riau has had significant positive impacts on the local economy. Before APRIL moved into Riau with the development of the Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP) complex, locals in the undeveloped area were forced to find livelihoods either as fisherman or via illegal logging. With the establishment of the complex and to support operations of its pulp and paper mill, roads were built, while an airport and ports were deployed to ship RAPP’s products to various destinations.[1]
  • APRIL's operates multimillion-dollar firefighting team to combat and prevent any fires started illegally on or near RGE-owned concessions, which operate based on a strict no-burn policy.[39]
  • They provide community development and education programmes to locals aiming to eliminate forest degradation at the root cause. As such, APRIL engages with the communities to not only educate them on the effects of these dangerous activities such as 'slash and burn', but also to help create additional economic opportunities.[9]
  • Between 2008 and 2010, it invested approximately US$5.9 million into community development programmes in Indonesia. This included: 2,797 student scholarships for primary, secondary and university education; free medical treatment for 36,778 people across 116 villages, training and start-up investment for 566 farmers, who passed on key learnings to the wider farming community; technical and financial assistance for SMEs, resulting in wealth stimulation and over 5,000 local community jobs; and the development of social infrastructure such as schools, places of worship, power generators, family planning clinics and sporting facilities.[9]
  • APRIL generates electricity through waste material and supplies it free to tens of thousands of residents living nearby. In addition, it provides them with free clean water.[40]
  • Asian Agri manages 60,000 hectares, developed with smallholders under the Plasma/KKPA schemes[38] which are claimed to be among the largest and most successful community partnership schemes in Indonesia, having brought economic benefits and social transformation to 29,000 smallholder families in Sumatra.[38]
  • RGE's palm oil sourced by smallholders is checked and verified by an independent non-profit organization that certifies producers.[39]
  • A 2013 study commissioned by APRIL, the Swedish Environmental Institute reported that the land management approach to mineral soils and peatland employed by APRIL's Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (RAPP) had avoided emissions by approximately 45-55%, when compared to a scenario where the same land was not actively managed. One of the main drivers of this is RAPP's effective plantation management, conservation activities and the presence of indigenous tree species areas on its concession.[41]

APRIL received an award from the Asian Forum on Corporate Social Responsibility in 2007 for it poverty alleviation work, recognising the integrated farming system the company introduced to Riau in 1999.[42]


Tax evasion[edit]

Asian Agri was investigated for allegedly evading taxes between 2002 and 2005, which the company consistently denied.[43] In December 2012, the Supreme Court of Indonesia ordered Asian Agri Group to pay Rp2.52 trillion (US$260 million) in back taxes and fines as vicarious liability,[44] The company paid the back tax and in January 2014 paid the fine[45] saying it would still file a judicial review.[46] Indonesia’s Tempo magazine was found guilty by the Jakarta court of defaming the company in an investigative report looking into these matters.[47]

Deutsche Bank controversy[edit]

Beckett Pte Ltd, 29% of which is indirectly owned by Sukanto Tanoto, was in legal disputes against Deutsche Bank, claiming that the bank had pledged shares, owned directly or indirectly by Beckett Pte Ltd in PT Swabara Mining and Energy, PT Asminco Bara Utama, PT Indonesia Bulk Terminal and PT Adaro Indonesia without due process and at an undervalue. Singapore's High Court found in favour of Deutsche Bank.[48] The High Court did however state that Deutsche Bank had "failed to discharge its duties as pledgee" in a share sale.[49]

Tanoto Foundation[edit]

In 1978, Sukanto Tanoto began sponsoring students in Sumatra. Between 1987 and 2007, he allocated 80% of his donations to the education sector and 20% to other social welfare activities, spending an estimated US$910,000 each year on a range of humanitarian activities.[50]

In 2001, Tanoto and his family established the Tanoto Foundation.[51] to increase quality of life for all stakeholders and communities that Royal Golden Eagle companies work with, and to address poverty and lack of resources through education, empowerment and enhancement.[52] Since its inception, the foundation had provided scholarships to more than 300 low-income undergraduates and 50 low-income postgraduates (as of 2007). The candidates who receive these awards may study any subject and are in no way bound to Tanoto companies.[50] It also awards the Tanoto Foundation Professorship Award. In 2007, the award, worth US$130,000, was granted to two Indonesian academic scientists for their efforts to enable technological research programs in Indonesia.[53]

The foundation supported the building of the INSEAD library in Singapore in 2005, which carries his name.[54]

In 2012, the Tanoto Foundation donated to the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) to boost the study of Asian family business, entrepreneurship and business cases. The university subsequently named the Tanoto Centre for Asian Family Business & Entrepreneurship Studies in his honour.[55]

Tanoto was recognised as an Outstanding Contributor at the "Asia-Pacific Chinese Entrepreneurial Leaders with the Strongest Social Responsibility" awards.[56]


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