The rich, minus 1

10 03 2011

Forbes has just published its annual rich list – The World’s Billionaires 2011 – and lists three for Thailand. The ranking hasn’t changed much since 2010, although wealth is increasing:

Dhanin

Ranked at 152 worldwide is Dhanin Chearavanont & family with assets valued at $6.5 Billion, mainly centered on the Charoen Phokphand (CP) group. Forbes lists the main holdings: 7-Eleven store operator, CP ALL, Charoen Pokphand Foods, PT Charoen Pokphand.  Also owns country’s third largest mobile phone company, which just took over Hutchison Telecom’s Thailand operations. Dhanin is listed as a “philanthropist” who “restores Buddhist temples in Thailand, sponsors schools and orphanages.” He’s also a full member of the group of business leaders who give strong support to the monarchy and its causes, political and otherwise. Regulalrly seen providing donations to royals.

Chaleo

Ranked 208 is Red Bull’s Chaleo Yoovidhya. He is listed as the founder of “f Thai energy drink producer T.C. Pharmaceuticals. Teamed up with Austrian Dietrich Mateschitz two decades ago to create energy drink Red Bull. Chaleo provided beverage formula and his partner contributed the marketing flair. Today Red Bull, which has $5 billion (sales), plans to expand to China this year. Each partner owns 49% of the company. Chaleo’s son, Chalerm, who owns one of Asia’s leading wine producers, Siam Winery, holds remaining 2%. Family upped stake in privately held Piyavate Hospital.” The group recently sponsored a major royal event.

Charoen

Ranked at 247 is Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi. Forbes writes that “he made his fortune selling inexpensive beer and whiskey. Controls Thai Bev, Thailand’s largest brewer and distiller, best known for its Chang Beer. Took his company public in Singapore in 2006 after Buddhist protesters [led by PAD leader Chamlong Srimuang] stopped the listing on Thailand’s stock exchange. His privately held TCC Land owns Bangkok’s famous tech-mall Pantip Plaza, Hotel Plaza Athenee in Manhattan. Also owns other hotels in Asia, the U.S. and Australia, residential, commercial and retail buildings in Singapore and Thailand.” He has good bureaucratic contacts through his liquor and beer businesses. Charoen has been a generous donor to royal activities. He is remarkably powerful and has huge cash flow, which makes him a valuable political ally.

Missing, of course, is the wealthiest family in Thailand. That’s because the they appear on a very special list at Forbes that we posted on in July 2010 as the wealthiest royals. Ranked on the assets of the Crown Property Bureau alone, the royal family would rank as high as 7 or 8 on the list of the world’s billionaires.


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