Biography of Bachtiar Karim

The name of PT Musim Mas is seldom heard among public in Indonesia, but it is among one of the most successful oleo chemical companies in the world. Bachtiar Karim, the owner of the company, is notoriously low profile and not really recognized even among business people. However, he is the one responsible for amazing reach of the company in oleo chemical business, even without having to affiliate with Indonesia’s giant palm oil groups such as Astra and Asian Agri.

Growing from Family Business

Bachtiar Karim learnt to handle oleo chemical business from young age of 20, when he was asked to handle the family’s soap company after the death of his grandfather. In 1972, he changed the company’s name from Nam Cheong Soap Factory to PT Musim Mas, and the company grew fast until it became a big palm oil refinery facility. However, only in year 1988 Bachtiar developed his business so the company had its own oil palm plantation. As a graduate from engineering school, Bachtiar also contributed to the company’s technical development. He later managed to increase the company production from 120 tons per month to 400 tons per month.

Bachtiar started his business journey from the bottom; his father put him on the bottom of the ladder first so he could learn various business aspects until the most miniscule details. He had worked at various departments from technical department to accounting to management. Afterward, he also studied abroad and managed to bring home his knowledge and skill to improve the performance of his company.

Low Profile, High Achievement Sense

As a notoriously low profile business person, not many people know about him except his company’s business partners. However, his sense of achievements and innovations has brought PT Musim Mas to be one of the biggest oleo chemical companies in Indonesia and even world. When the company bought new oil palm plantation, Bachtiar used the opportunity to handle all the plantations while learning more about more sophisticated business aspects. He also applied some new technical innovations in the operational aspect of the factory.

His innovations consist of breakthroughs such as methods of production with lower energy usage while at the same time reducing risks for leaking. His company now turns 90% of its production for export, and Indonesian people know the three products his company makes: Medicare, Lark and Harmony soap bars. Bachtiar Karim also applies sustainable principle at his oleo chemical facilities and oil palm factories that supply crude palm oil.