Thailand’s rich get richer: Forbes

BANGKOK (The Nation): Despite the political and economic uncertainties, Thailand’s 40 richest people have proved to be a stable lot as old names remain on Forbes‘ 2008 list, and some have become even wealthier.

Chaleo Yoovidhya, with a net worth of US$4 billion (Bt135 billion), returns to the No 1 spot – up $500 million from last year – thanks to strong global sales of his Red Bull energy drink.

His runner-up again this year is beer brewer Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, up $600 million. They are two of eight tycoons who made most of their fortune in food and beverages, more than any other industry.

Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra also saw his fortune rise by about $100 million.

said these names remained perhaps because the list was dominated by businesses set up decades ago, or perhaps because the same families had run the enterprises for so long, there had been little change.

All 40 appeared on the list in 2007 or 2006, or have taken the place of relatives who were listed previously.

Chaleo and Charoen are also first-generation entrepreneurs who still hold the bulk of their wealth.

More commonplace are families whose wealth is now in the hands of the founders’ wives, children or grandchildren.

this year grouped together relatives who derived their wealth from the same person or company. The three Thai Rath newspaper heirs, for example, who last year appeared as individuals, are now listed together under the mother, Praneetsilpa.

Combining family fortunes helped boost the top 40’s total worth by $6 billion to $25 billion.

The survey is based on June 26 share prices and exchange rates.

estimated the worth of privately-held companies by figuring out what they could be worth if public.

Phuket News

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