The Nation



Hospital, airline tycoon Prasert becomes year's richest stock investor

Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth

Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth

Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth became the country's wealthiest stock investor this year, with listed securities worth a total of Bt37 billion.

He took over the top ranking from Thongma Vijitpongpun, a three-year champion (2010-2012), who is ranked fifth this year with securities value of Bt25.45 billion, which rose only 8.32 per cent between October 2012 and September this year.

Prasert is ranked ninth in Forbes' "Thailand's 50 Richest" list, with net worth as of July at US$1.8 billion (nearly Bt58 billion). He is the world's 825th-richest billionaire, according to Forbes.

The former surgeon co-founded and still runs Bangkok Dusit Medical Services (BGH), whose share price has risen on continued expansion. It now has 31 locations, including two in Cambodia. He also founded Bangkok Airways, which flies to destinations in Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Bangladesh and Maldives.

According to a survey by Money Banking magazine, Prasert's wealth rose mainly on the increasing share value of BGH. Holding 18.78 per cent of the hospital company, he saw its value rise to Bt36.6 billion, up by Bt15.47 billion or 73 per cent from September last year. From end-September 2012, the BGH share price rose 17.29 per cent in a 12-month period.

He also holds a 0.79-per-cent equity stake in Nonthavej Hospital (NTV) worth Bt30.82 million.

His stockholding first hit the billion-baht mark in 2004. Last year, he was fourth in the rankings, with stock value of Bt21 billion.

Coming in second place this year is Keeree Kanjanapas, founder of BTS Group Holdings, the operator of Bangkok's Skytrain system. The total value of listed securities he owns is Bt34 billion.

Coming in third is Pete Bodharamik of Jasmine International, at Bt26 billion. During the 12-month period, his securities value rose by 45.89 per cent or Bt10.76 billion. At Bt26.48 billion, the value of his securities rose 270.12 per cent from the previous year when he was ranked 18th. This increase was attributed to the listing of Mono Technology on the Market for Alternative Investment. Pete holds 71.81 per cent of the company.

In fourth place is Anant Asvabhokin, president of Land & Houses, with securities value of Bt25.74 billion. That is up 18.69 per cent year on year.

Initial public offerings of new companies this year also introduced new wealthy stock investors including Somphot Ahunai, chief executive of Energy Absolute. With securities valued at Bt10 billion as of September 30, he is ranked the 10th-wealthiest stock investor this year.

In terms of stockholdings by Thai families, the Chirathivat family this year toppled the Maleenont family, who had been ranked on top for 14 years. The Chirathivats' stockholding is worth Bt66.7 billion, against Bt49 billion for the Maleenonts. While Centara Hotels and Resorts' share price rose 121.09 per cent, Big C Supercenter's share rose by 6.95 per cent. Meanwhile, the Maleenont family's BEC World saw its share price fall by 25 per cent. Prasert's family is ranked third and the Kanjanapas family is fourth.

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