Healthcare And Airline Billionaire Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth Gets One-Two Bump From Thailand’s Travel Rebound

This story is part of Forbes’ coverage of Thailand’s Richest 2023. See the full list here.

The rebound in travel over the past year as Covid-19 pandemic restrictions ended gave a double boost to the wealth of Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth. The former surgeon has stakes in regional airline Bangkok Airways and in Bangkok Dusit Medical Services (BDMS), the country’s largest private hospital chain in terms of revenue and market cap.

International tourist arrivals, which include medical tourists, skyrocketed to 11.2 million in 2022 from less than half a million the year before, and are expected to nearly triple to 30 million this year, according to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports. The turnaround lifted shares in Bangkok Airways and BDMS by 56% and 19%, respectively, over the past year. Prasert’s net worth jumped in tandem, up 23% to $3.8 billion.

Bangkok Airways, founded by Prasert in 1968, returned to a profit in the first quarter and revenue more than tripled to 5.74 billion baht ($165 million) from the year-earlier period. BDMS, which he cofounded in 1972, saw its net profit edge up as revenue rose 5% to 24 billion baht.

Revenue from international patients at the 57-hospital BDMS grew 14% quarter-on-quarter, according to a May report by Bangkok-based research analyst Sirikarn Krisnipat of Krungsri Securities. The segment accounted for 29% of its total revenue in the period, a return to the pre-pandemic level.

Prasert’s son Puttipong is CEO at Bangkok Airways, while daughter Poramaporn is president of BDMS. Prasert returned as a director at both companies in 2021 after a two-year ban by the Thai securities regulator on holding board and executive positions at any listed company. The ban stemmed from allegations of stock-price manipulation in Bangkok Airways. Poramaporn was also implicated and faced a one-year ban. Both denied the allegations and paid fines.

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