THAILAND - Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth became the country's wealthiest stock investor this year, with listed securities worth a total of Bt37 billion (S$1.45 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 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.