Thailand’s Wealthiest: Tycoons Experience Double-Digit Growth Despite Political Uncertainty

Thailand’s economy is on the rise, with an estimated 3.6% growth this year, buoyed by the return of tourists. The progressive Move, Forward Party’s surprising win in the national election has brought a sense of optimism among young Thais. However, the uncertainty surrounding the party’s leader, Pita Limjaroenrat, potentially becoming the prime minister adds to the political landscape. Amidst these circumstances, the combined wealth of Thailand’s 50 richest individuals has seen an impressive increase of nearly 15%, reaching a total of $173 billion.

The Chearavanont brothers, leading the Charoen Pokphand group, continue to dominate the list, securing the top position with a record-breaking wealth of $34 billion. Their merger of the group’s telecom unit, True, with rival Total Access Communications, has contributed to their substantial gain of $7.5 billion.

Chalerm Yoovidhya, the energy drinks tycoon and part of the Red Bull empire, remains in second place with a wealth of $33.4 billion. Red Bull’s successful year, selling 11.6 billion cans worldwide and generating over $10 billion in revenue in 2022, has boosted Yoovidhya’s wealth by $7 billion.

Notable Highlights: The return of foreign shoppers has benefited some of the richest individuals. Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, from the family that owns duty-free operator, King Power International, has more than doubled his net worth to $3.5 billion, securing a place in the top ten.

Supaluck Umpujh oversees The Mall Group, a prominent retailing empire owning popular malls such as Siam Paragon and EmQuartier, and has also seen her fortune double to $2 billion.

New Additions: Two newcomers have made their debut on the list. Pradit Phataraprasit, former deputy finance minister with family stakes in The Mall Group and other businesses, enters the list at No. 27 with $1.4 billion. Anan Ruckariyapong, founder of Sappe, a listed beverage firm, appears at No. 50 with a net worth of $590 million.

Market Success and Challenges: The stock market debuts of various companies have significantly impacted the wealth of select individuals. Insurance veteran Vanich Chaiyawan’s fortune, driven by the successful IPO of Thai Life Insurance, saw a 30% increase to $3.9 billion. Additionally, Chaivat Taepaisitphongse returned to the list after his food conglomerate Betagro’s IPO in October.

On the other hand, 22 individuals experienced a decline in their wealth. Paints magnate Prachak Tangkaravakoon faced a significant decrease of nearly 30%, primarily due to issues surrounding Stark, a wire and cable maker associated with his son Vonnarat. The company’s shares collapsed and were suspended after failing to meet stock exchange filing requirements.

Conclusion: Despite the cutoff for inclusion on the list decreasing, Thailand’s wealthiest individuals have seen remarkable double-digit growth in their combined wealth. While political uncertainty lingers, the return of tourists and successful market ventures have contributed to this positive trend. The diverse industries represented among the wealthiest individuals reflect the strength and resilience of Thailand’s economy.

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