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Indonesia's richest double wealth in a year: Forbes

world Updated: Dec 03, 2009 13:40 IST

Indonesia's 40 richest people have doubled their wealth in the past year to 42 billion dollars, mainly on the back of commodities like coal and palm oil, Forbes magazine reported on Thursday.

The elite club has surpassed its previous total-wealth record, set in 2007, by two billion dollars, despite the financial crisis which swept the world last year, the magazine said on its website.

Of the 12 main Asia-Pacific economies surveyed, Forbes said only China's wealthiest saw a better improvement, rising to a combined 106 billion dollars from 52 billion dollars.

India's richest were the next, with their total wealth increasing 65 percent.

"Global demand for Indonesia's natural resources fuelled the rise of many fortunes on this list," the business magazine said.

"More than one-third of the top 40 make the bulk of their money in coal, palm oil or oil and gas, including four of the five newcomers."

Nine Indonesian tycoons at least tripled their wealth since last year, it said, and the Southeast Asian powerhouse now has 12 billionaires with a combined wealth of 28 billion dollars, from seven last year.

The brothers R. Budi and Michael Hartono, whose interests include clove cigarettes, banking and the upmarket Grand Indonesia shopping mall, claimed the top spot with a pooled wealth of seven billion dollars.

"We combined their fortunes this year to reflect the fact that this ranking, unlike Forbes' Billionaires list, includes a number of family fortunes," the magazine said.

"Still, had they not been combined, their individual net worths of 3.5 billion dollars apiece would have earned them the top two slots."

Second was palm oil tycoon Martua Sitorus with three billion dollars, while Susilo Wonowidjojo came third, earning 2.6 billion dollars from tobacco.

One of the new billionaires was coal magnate Low Tuck Kwong, whose Bayan Resources soared 474 percent this year, while the country's main stock index has climbed more than 80 percent.

Former welfare minister and new leader of the Golkar party, Aburizal Bakrie, regained his billionaire status thanks to the dramatic rise from share market oblivion earlier this year of his heavyweight coal unit Bumi Resources.

Palm oil firm First Resources chief executive Ciliandra Fangiono, 33, was the richest newcomer to the list with an estimated 710 million dollars in the bank.