Over a third of Thai retail dynasty’s fortune wiped out by pandemic

Members of the Chirathivat family, who own the Central Group retail and property conglomerate, in a 2014 file photo outside Bangkok’s Central Embassy shopping mall. Photo: Central Embassy / Facebook
Members of the Chirathivat family, who own the Central Group retail and property conglomerate, in a 2014 file photo outside Bangkok’s Central Embassy shopping mall. Photo: Central Embassy / Facebook

The pandemic has brought mighty losses to Thailand’s retail royalty, while an even bigger monopolistic dynasty managed to hold onto most of its obscene wealth this year.

After years trading the top spot among Thailand’s wealthiest families, the Chearavanonts, owners of one of the world’s largest corporate conglomerates, opened a wide lead over the Chirathivat family, which fell 11 places to No. 20 on Bloomberg’s ranking of Asia’s wealthiest families.

The Chearavanonts, who own Thai uber-monopoly CP, came in third place overall again this year in Asia with wealth of US$31.7 billion, down by about $6.2 billion from 2019. But the COVID-19 fallout on real estate and retail left its marks on Central Group’s Chirathivat family, owners of major malls, resorts, supermarkets and more. They fell from No. 9 to No. 20 with $12.9 billion after sustaining losses of $7.4 billion since last year. 

While they’re far from needing anyone’s charity, it’s a huge step down for a family that as recently as 2014 was ranked Thailand’s wealthiest family and No. 3 in all of Asia.

Before losing sleep over anyone’s diminished fortunes, it’s worth noting that Thailand’s top 1% continue to hold 56% of all property nationwide.

Indeed, the fortunes of other families were relatively unchanged. The Yoovidhya family, creators of the original Red Bull and other energy drinks, saw their fortune shaved by $300 million to $24.2 billion. They remained Thailand’s third wealthiest and sixth in Asia overall.

Regionally, none can hold a ivory-handled candle to India’s Ambani family, which was Asia’s richest family for yet another year in a row with massive holdings of $76 billion from its Reliance Industries conglomerate. Owning everything from petrochemicals and energy to textiles and telecommunications, the Ambanis got $25 billion richer.

Bloomberg’s data was compiled Nov. 13. It excludes first-generation wealth and single-heir families.

Related

Terrible News! Thailand’s richest take small hit to their fortunes

The rich just got richer: Three Thai families make it to ‘Asia’s 50 Richest’ list by Forbes

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