Eleven Thais in Forbes' billionaires list

Eleven Thais in Forbes' billionaires list

From left: Dhanin Chearavanont, Thaksin Shinawatra and Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi
From left: Dhanin Chearavanont, Thaksin Shinawatra and Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi

Eleven top business leaders from Thailand are included in this year's world's richest billionaires list issued by Forbes magazine.

From left: Dhanin Chearavanont, Thaksin Shinawatra and Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi

Dhanin Chearavanont, chairman of agriculture conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group, is listed as the wealthiest Thai with assets of US$11.4 billion, but ranks only 97th on the 2014 list of the world's wealthiest people. Despite being the richest person in Thailand, his position has dropped significantly from No. 58 in 2013 with net wealth of $14.3 billion.

According to Forbes' World's Billionaires 2014 list , Mr Dhanin led an acquisition spree in 2013 at home and abroad, making more than half of the $31 billion in total business deals announced in Thailand last year.

Among his 2013 deals: a $6.6 billion offer by his CP All, the world's third-largest operator of 7-Eleven stores to acquire discount retailer Siam Makro.

He also bought a 15% stake in Ping An Insurance for $9.4 billion. Backed by UBS, the purchase was the biggest-ever foreign acquisition of Chinese stock.

Forbes said his net worth includes shares he owns together with his three brothers, Jaran Chiaravanont, Montri Jiaravanont and Sumet Jiaravanont.

Second wealthiest in Thailand is Thai Beverage Plc’s founder Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi. This year, he was ranked No. 141 with assets of $9 billion, down from 82nd rank in 2013 when his net worth was $11.7 billion.

Mr Charoen bought Singapore-listed Fraser & Neave, a property and beverage conglomerate, for $11 billion in 2013 after winning a bidding war against Indonesia's Riady family. 

TCC Land, his private property arm, is the largest owner of Marriott Hotels in the Asia Pacific, six InterContinental hotels in the region as well as Hotel Plaza Athenee in Manhattan.

His net worth was impacted by softening property values across the region, Forbes said.

The third billionaire from Thailand on the list is Vanich Chaiyawan, who sold cigarettes on the streets as a teenager. Forbes listed him at No. 429 in the world with $3.65 billion from insurance and beverage businesses.

The chairman of Thai Life, Thailand’s second largest-life insurer, sold a 15% stake in the privately-held company to Japan's Meiji Yasuda for $700 million. The deal, which valued Thai Life at more than $4.6 billion, tripled Mr Vanich's net worth.  

Other Thai billionaires on the list are Krit Ratanarak of Bangkok Broadcasting and Television Co (BBTV) which operates Channel 7 television station ($2.8 billion); Bangkok Airways founder Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth ($1.75 billion); ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and family ($1.6 billion); King Power duty-free operator Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha ($1.5 billion); Keeree Kanjanapas of BTS skytrain operator BTS Group Holding ($1.35 billion); Surin Upatkoon, a Malaysia-based Thai tycoon ($1.3 billion); Thongma Vijitpongpun, chief executive of listed developer Pruksa Real Estate Plc ($1.15 billion); and Aloke Lohia, chief executive of the world's largest polyester chain producer Indorama Ventures Plc ($1.1 billion).

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