Thai Indian entrepreneur's wealth soars by 252 percent

Singapore, Sep.2 (ANI): The ongoing political turmoil in Thailand has apparently not prevented the kingdom's richest people from getting richer.The biggest gainer in percentage terms is longtime Thai Indian resident Aloke Lohia. His wealth soared by 252 percent when he took his integrated polyester company, Indorama Ventures, public earlier this year.

This son of an Indian entrepreneur is a newly minted billionaire and jumped 13 notches to No. 6, with a net worth of 1.25 billion dollars.

The 40 wealthiest Thais are now worth 36.5 billion dollars, up 46 percent from last year, according to the latest Forbes Asia Thailand Rich List.

Three quarters of the tycoons on the rich list added to their fortunes thanks to a booming stock market and a strengthening currency.

Also joining the country's billionaire ranks for the first time this year are Pruksa Real Estate's Thongma Vijitpongpun (No.8; 1.15 billion dollars) and Mitr Phol Sugar's Isara Vongkusolkit (No. 10; 1.1 billion dollars).

In all, there are 11 billionaires this year, six more than last year.

Topping the list for the first time and the biggest gainer in dollar terms is agribusiness owner Dhanin Chearavanont with a net worth of seven billion dollars, up by four billion dollars over the past year.

Ranked No. 2 last year, the 71-year old heads conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group.

He is also a philanthropist who restores Buddhist temples in Thailand, sponsors schools and orphanages.

Dhanin knocked out last year's richest Chaleo Yoovidhya. The 78-year old Red Bull co-founder slipped to No. 2 despite increasing his wealth by 200 million dollars to 4.2 billion dollars.

Moving up one notch to No. 3 is 66-year old beverage tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi with 4.15 billion dollars, up from 2.8 billion dollars previously.

He took his Thai Beverage, Thailand's largest brewer and distiller, public in Singapore in 2006, and his stock nearly doubled in 2009.

There are three new faces on this year's list. The highest ranking newcomer is Keeree Kanjanapas (No. 13; 650 million dollars). His property and construction firm, Tanayong (renamed BTS Group Holdings), recently took over Bangkok's Skytrain. Also a new face is another real estate developer, Supalai's Prateep Tangmatitham (No. 33; 190 million dollars).

The third tycoon to debut on the list is 60-year old tile producer Roongroj Saengsastra (No. 31; 200 million dollars). He founded Tile Top in 1995 and bought over competitor Dynasty Ceramic after the Asian economic crisis. The merged company's stock price is up 90 percent over the past year.

Roongroj is featured in a profile story in the latest issue of Forbes Asia.

The minimum net worth to make the list this year increased to 140 million dollars, up from 85 million dollars previously.

The full list of Thailand's richest can be found in the September 2010 issue of Forbes Asia. (ANI)

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