Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wealth of top 40 tycoons down RM76.8b

Wealth of top 40 tycoons down RM76.8b
Thu, Feb 19, 2009
The Business Times


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA: THE global economic slump has begun eroding the wealth of Malaysia's rich and famous.

According to Malaysian Business's annual survey of the country's wealthiest, the equities meltdown caused RM76.8 billion (S$32 billion) to be wiped out from the net worth of the country's 40 richest individuals. The survey also revealed that there were now only 14 in the billion ringgit club - five less than in last year's survey - while over half the list recorded wealth declines of 50 per cent or more.

Topping the Feb 16 list was, once again, Robert Kuok Hock Nien, Malaysia's 'Sugar King' and octogenarian patriarch of the Kuok Group, which is into plantations, property development, commodities trading, manufacturing, air cargo and information technology.

Mr Kuok, 84, is a Malaysian but resident for much of the time in Hong Kong. His businesses are throughout Asia, with activities in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and China. Perhaps because of that, the global crisis seems to have hit him especially hard, with his net worth declining 56 per cent to RM26.6 billion.

Trailing Mr Kuok with RM20.1 billion is T Ananda Krishnan, an entertainment, power and telecommunications tycoon with businesses in Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, India, Australia, Russia, Germany and the Middle East.

Mr Krishnan, 70, shuns the press and almost never gives interviews. He also seems to be concentrating his energies outside Malaysia, where he has not grown any new businesses since 2002, preferring instead to look at mature assets in developed countries and fast-growing assets in markets such as India.

Third on the MB list is Teh Hong Piow, chairman and controlling shareholder of Public Bank, with a net worth of RM8.2 billion. The septuagenarian still runs the bank although he has largely given up managing its day-to-day affairs.

Plantations and property mogul Lee Shin Cheng is ranked fourth and clocks in at RM7.4 billion. He controls the IOI group of companies, regarded by many analysts as some of the best managed companies in Malaysia.

With RM4.5 billion, Quek Leng Chan makes the cut at fifth position. Mr Quek, a Singapore-trained lawyer by profession, is a reclusive businessman with his fingers in many business pies and is known to be partial to golf and the casinos of Las Vegas.

This article was first published in The Business Times.

No comments: