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#355 Dhanin Chearavanont $5.27B

Random fact: Started raising hens at age 9, and still breeds them along with pigeons.

Overview

Dhanin is the largest shareholder and senior chairman of Charoen Pokphand Group, Thailand's largest closely held company. The Bangkok-based conglomerate has interests in agriculture, food, retail and telecommunications. Its Charoen Pokphand Foods division reported revenue of 464.5 billion Thai baht ($13.2 billion) in 2016.

As of Nov. 23, 2017:
Last change -$80.0M (-1.5%)
YTD change +$2.73B (+107.5%)
Industry Retail
Biggest asset 2318 HK Equity
Citizenship Thailand
Age 78
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Dhanin Chearavanont's net worth of $5.27B can buy ...

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barrels of crude oil

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of the GDP of the United States
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of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
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of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
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of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
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of U.S. existing home sales
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times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Cash
Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Dhanin's fortune is controlled through Charoen Pokphand Group, Thailand's largest closely held company. Dhanin and his brothers control more than 51 percent of the group, with Dhanin owning an individual stake of about 13 percent, said Viranon Futrakul, a spokesman for Charoen Pokphand. He owns assets through entities he shares with his three brothers, Jaran Chiaravanont, Montri Jiaravanont and Sumet Jiaravanon. Their stakes are excluded from Dhanin's net worth calculation.

He has a 5.4 percent interest in Ping An Insurance Group, China's second-largest insurer, according to a July 2017 Hong Kong Stock Exchange filing.

He owns about 6.6 percent of Charoen Pokphand Foods, a Bangkok-based meat and animal feed producer that reported revenue of 464.5 billion Thai baht ($13.2 billion) in 2016, and 4.9 percent of CP All, the world's second-biggest operator of 7-Eleven stores, through Charoen Pokphand Group. The billionaire's other publicly traded assets include a 7.3 percent stake in True Corp., Thailand's third-biggest mobile-phone operator, and about 7.2 percent of Charoen Pokphand Indonesia, which produces poultry and animal feed.

His net worth calculation accounts for liabilities of more than $2 billion for the financing of his stakes in Ping An and Citic, China's biggest conglomerate.

Viranon Futrakul, a spokesman for Charoen Pokphand, confirmed the billionaire's holdings.

Biography

Birthdate: 4/19/1939
Family: Married, 5 children
Education: National Defence College Commercial School

Dhanin Chearavanont's father and uncle left Guangdong, China, to establish a seed shop in Bangkok's Chinatown, in 1921. The store was later renamed Charoen Popkhand. The youngest of four Chinese-Thai brothers, Dhanin was born in 1939.

By age 30, he took over the family business and built it into Thailand’s largest agricultural group, CP Group, before diversifying into retailing, telecommunications and real estate, and spreading to Indonesia, Singapore and Japan. When Chinese political leader Deng Xiaoping opened and reformed the country's economy in 1979, Dhanin was its first foreign investor, registering his first business there as No. 001.

The Thai tycoon had planned to retire by age 58, according to a Harvard case study. He changed his mind when the family’s wealth crashed after Thailand devalued its currency in July 1997, triggering the Asian financial crisis. When the empire began to falter under $1 billion in foreign loans, Dhanin froze debt payments, halted dozens of ventures and sold assets to save the group.

Dhanin focused on modernizing farming in Thailand and China after the crisis ended. His family's return to China and early-mover status grew from a feed plant and chicken farm to more than 200 CP Group companies, employing about 80,000 and annual sales of $8 billion in 2012. It is the biggest lessee of farm land in the country, and runs 75 supermarkets there as well.

CP is the world's largest animal feedmaker, the top shrimp farmer, the biggest exporter of packaged rice in Thailand, and one of the globe's largest poultry producers. Diversifying further yet, the group struck a deal to buy HSBC's 15.6 percent stake in Ping An Insurance, China's second-biggest life insurer, for $9.4 billion in 2012. He also bought Siam Makro, Thailand's biggest cash-and-carry wholesale chain, for $6.1 billion in April 2013.

Milestones
  • 1921 Father and uncle leave China to set up seed shop in Bangkok.
  • 1939 Dhanin Chearavanont is born, the youngest of four brothers.
  • 1946 Seed shop renamed Charoen Pokphand as business expands.
  • 1973 Sells first shipment of Thai-grown chicken to Japan.
  • 1979 Deng Xiaoping opens Chinese economy. CP Group is first investor.
  • 1997 Retires at age 58 and leave business to brothers.
  • 1997 Thailand devalues currency and family fortune collapses.
  • 1998 Reverses decision to leave. Takes control, sells assets to pay debt.
  • 2012 Agrees to buy 15.6 percent stake in Ping An Insurance.
  • 2016 Charoen Pokphand Foods acquires Bellisio Foods for $1 billion.