The founder of Barito Pacific in Indonesia is now among those recording this year’s biggest declines. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Jakarta: Prajogo Pangestu of Indonesia is having a bumpy start to the year.

The founder of power and industrial giant Barito Pacific Group lost $4 billion on Tuesday alone, taking its wealth drop since a peak last month to $6.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Prajogo, who got richer than everybody else in Asia last year and was worth $25.3 billion as of the last close, has now lost his title as the wealthiest person in Indonesia to Low Tuck Kwong of coal miner PT Bayan Resources, who has a $27.9 billion fortune.

Losing 'wealth'

Prajogo, who had the biggest slump in wealth on Tuesday, is now among the world's biggest losers of 2024, following France's Bernard Arnault and Tesla Inc.'s Elon Musk.

The sudden slump in Prajogo's PT Barito Renewables Energy, which reached a record 20 per cent on Tuesday, came after a more than 850 per cent surge from its October listing through the end of December. An analyst said the stock had become overvalued and traders were taking profit. Parent company PT Barito Pacific fell 18 per cent on Tuesday, while another unit, PT Chandra Asri Pacific, tumbled 20 per cent.

Barito Pacific and Barito Renewables reversed some of the drops on Wednesday.

It's a startling reversal for Prajogo, who added $26.5 billion to his fortune last year as Barito Renewables, a producer of geothermal power that makes up almost half of his fortune, went public. Prajogo, who started petrochemicals company Barito Pacific in 1979, has been trying to diversify its renewable energy portfolio amid a push by Indonesia, one of the world's biggest CO2 emitters, to hit net-zero targets.

Last year's surge in shares has raised eyebrows, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded Barito Pacific stocks last month, citing rich valuations following gains.

Indonesia's bourse is also checking whether there was any stock manipulation in a unit owned by Prajogo. PT Petrindo Jaya Kreasi, a coal and gold miner, has been suspended for more than three weeks after rising more than 6,000 per cent from its listing in March. The Financial Services Authority said proven stock manipulation at any company will be sanctioned.