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Japan increases transport loans; Minister orders monorail feasibility study

Beverage and media tycoons control close to half of wealth in Thailand rich list


Japan increases transport loans; Minister orders monorail feasibility study

Tokyo (TNA) - Realisation of metropolitan Bangkokís mass transit system moved a step closer to completion last Friday with Japanís state bank for international development increasing the value of loans it will extend.
Pongpanu Savetarun, director-general of Thailandís Ministry of Finance Public Debt Management Office, said the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) had decided to increase the value of loans requested by Thailand to finance the construction of the mass transit rail system in the Thai capital by 4 to 5 billion baht from the earlier requested 32 billion baht due to the price increase in oil and construction raw materials.
The loan will be used to finance construction of the mass transit system running between Bang Yai in Nonthaburi province, passing through Bang Sue to Ratchaburana in the cityís Thonburi side, he said.
Of the total loans, JBIC has already granted the first installment of 18 billion baht, said Pongpanu, who was accompanying Thailandís Minister of Transport Santi Prompat on an official visit to Tokyo where they were seeking Japanese government and JBIC loans to finance Bangkokís nine mass transit rail projects, aimed at easing traffic problem in the Thai capital.
Pongpanu said JBIC was expected to grant another loan amounting about 80 billion baht to finance another rail project from Rangsit in Pathum Thani province to Bang Sue on the northern outskirts of Bangkok.
Meanwhile, Minister of Transport Santi Prompat, visiting Japan, last Friday inspected Japanís monorail service system in Tokyo, expressed his interest in the system and believed it could be replicated in Bangkok.
Santi said construction costs of monorail systems are inexpensive at some 600-800 million baht per kilometre, and it could accommodate over 100,000 passengers per day while creating little pollution, particularly noise pollution.
A monorail system could link several areas in Bangkok, including Petchaburi and Lad Prao roads, Santi added.
The minister said he would order the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning to conduct a feasibity study on the monorail project.
 


Beverage and media tycoons control close to half of wealth in Thailand rich list

Former PM Thaksinís net worth is up by US$100 Million

Singapore Ė Despite political and economic uncertainty in Thailand since prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra was deposed in a 2006 coup, the Kingdomís 40 richest people have proved to be a stable lot.
According to the latest Forbes Asia Thailand rich list, the rankings are filled with familiar faces who appeared on the list in 2006 or last year or have taken the spots of relatives who were previously listed.
Beverage and media tycoons occupy six of the top 10 positions in this yearís rankings. Collectively, they are worth US$11.54 billion, close to half of the combined wealth of the top 40 richest in the Kingdom.
Returning to the top spot is 76-year old beverage maker Chaleo Yoovidhya, who is worth $4 billion. He is $500 million richer thanks to strong global sales of Red Bull last year. Turnover for the energy drink nearly doubled since 2004 to $4.2 billion, and a cola version of the beverage is in the offing.
Separated by $100 million from Thailandís richest man is again runner-up beermaker Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi. The 64-year old saw his wealth grow by $600 million to $3.9 billion. The street vendorís son got rich in whiskey and beer, and took his company Thai Beverage public in Singapore two years ago.
Charoen and Chaleo are first-generation entrepreneurs who still hold the bulk of their wealth, an increasing rarity among the top 40.
Another beverage baron in the top-tier rankings is Chamnong Bhirombhakdi. Together with his family, he is ranked No. 8 and worth $820 million. Chamnong, 80, heads Boon Rawd Brewery which was founded by his father as Thailandís first beermaker in 1933 and makes Singha beer.
Media tycoons also dominated the top 10.
Chairman and CEO of Bangkok Broadcasting & TV Krit Ratanarak is ranked No. 5 with his family. With a net worth of $1 billion, they are one of five individuals or families to make the billion-dollar club this year, compared with only three last year.
Following closely behind are Praneetsilpa Vacharaphol & family at No. 6 with $940 million. Her late husband founded Thai Rath, the Kingdomís most widely circulated newspaper. Praneetsilpa holds a 38% stake in the daily.
Vichai Maleenont & family came in at No. 7 with $880 million. The 90-year old Vichai co-founded BEC World 38 years ago. The media group has 23 subsidiaries and derives most of its income from the Channel 3 TV network.
The rich list this year also saw the return of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, ranked No. 16 with his family. They are worth $400 million, $100 million better off than last year. He returned to Bangkok in February after spending time away from the country following his ouster. He faces new charges of concealing shares, which he denies, in real estate firm SC Asset.
Another notable entry is Nishita Shah, an Indian Thai who is the youngest on the list. Along with her family, she is ranked No. 19 and worth $375 million. The 28-year old is featured this monthís issue of Forbes Asia in which she speaks of plans to launch a fashion venture while helping to manage her familyís 140-year old business which includes Thai-listed Precious Shipping.
Thailandís top 40 richest people this year are worth a total of $25 billion, up $6 billion over last year. This is helped in part by combining several net worths. So, for example, the three Thai Rath newspaper heirs who last appeared as individuals are now together. The new grouping, one of several, allowed for more entries and helped cut the minimum net worth by $44 million to $65 million.
The top ten richest in Thailand are:
1) Chaleo Yoovidhya, US$4 billion; 2) Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, $3.9 billion; 3) Chirathivat family, $2.8 billion; 4) Dhanin Chearavanont & family, $2 billion; 5) Krit Ratanarak & family, $1 billion; 6) Praneetsilpa Vacharaphol & family, $940 million; 7) Vichai Maleenont & family, $880 million; 8) Chamnong Bhirombhakdi & family, $820 million; 9) Somporn Juangroongruangkit & family, $580 million; 10) Anant Asavabhokin, $525 million.
To compile the list, Forbes Asia calculated net worths using June 26 stock prices and exchange rates. Public wealth was estimated using shareholder and financial information from Thailandís stock exchange and the countryís ministry of commerce. Private companies were valued using comparisons to their public counterparts. (source - Forbes Asia)




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