HENRY SY, Sr. remains the country’s wealthiest man for the 11th straight year in Forbes Asia’s “Philippines’ 50 Richest” list, which reflected the economy’s overall volatility as many registered shifts in wealth from 2017.
“There has been a general uplift in the wealth of the country’s real estate and construction tycoons,” the publication said in a statement on Thursday as it released its latest issue.
In the latest ranking, 19 tycoons saw their net worth move by 20% over the past year. The minimum net worth to make the list is $125 million, up from $120 million last year.
Mr. Sy, whose net worth edged up to $18.3 billion from $18 billion in 2017, is chairman emeritus of listed SM Investments Corp., one of the country’s biggest conglomerates.
A notable inclusion in the top 10 of the 50-person list is Manuel B. Villar, Jr. — chairman of listed Starmalls, Inc., homebuilder Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc. and Golden Bria Holdings, Inc. — whose wealth tripled over the past year to $5 billion from $1.65 billion, enabling him to leap to second place from 12th in 2017. He was “the year’s biggest gainer,” Forbes Asia noted. The publication said Golden Bria shares soared by 1,300% in the first quarter on the back of its profitable diversified burial service and mass housing businesses.
John L. Gokongwei, Jr., chairman emeritus of JG Summit Holdings, Inc., took third place from second previously with a net worth of $4.4 billion, down from $5.5 billion in 2017. The group has stakes in banking, real estate, airlines, telecommunications, power and food.
In fourth place is Jaime Zobel de Ayala (from fifth in 2017), whose wealth rose to $4 billion, higher by $300 million over the previous year. Listed conglomerate Ayala Corp. has diverse interests, including real estate and hotels, financial services and insurance, telecommunications, water and power.
Enrique K. Razon Jr. rounded out the top five (he was third in 2017) with a net worth of $3.9 billion, down from $4.3 billion in 2017. Among his businesses is International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI), where he sits as president and chairman. ICTSI has terminal concessions and port development projects in several countries.
Coming in sixth place was Jollibee Chairman and founder Tony Tan Caktiong, from seventh previously, whose wealth edged up to $3.9 billion from $3.85 billion.
In seventh place was LT Group, Inc. founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Lucio Tan, from fourth in 2017, whose wealth steadied at $3.8 billion.
Forbes Asia noted that the 70% rise in the shares of San Miguel Corp. propelled Ramon S. Ang, its vice-chairman, president and chief operating officer, to eighth place (from ninth) with a net worth of $2.85 billion (from $2.3 billion), and Iñigo and Mercedes Zobel to 11th spot from 13th with $2.5 billion from $1.6 billion. For the same reason, San Miguel Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr. made it to 14th place from 17th with $1.4 billion from $1.1 billion.
GT Capital Holdings, Inc. Chairman Emeritus George S.K. Ty came in ninth, from sixth last year, with $2.75 billion from $3.6 billion.
In 10th place was Andrew L. Tan, chairman of Alliance Global Group, Inc. as well as of listed subsidiaries Emperador, Inc. and Megaworld Corp. — from eighth in 2017 — with $2.6 billion from $2.5 billion.
Isidro A. Consunji and his siblings came in 12th with $2.45 billion, taking the place of their father, David, who died in September last year and who had placed sixth in 2017 with Mr. Ty with net worth of $3.6 billion.
The other newcomers include William T. Belo, president and chief executive of home improvement and construction supplies retailer Wilcon Depot, Inc., at 22nd with $600 million; Necisto U. Sytengco, chairman of chemical trader SBS Philippines Corp., at 41st with $180 million; Alberto S. Villarosa (42nd with $170 million) and Rafael F. Simpao, Jr. (44th with $155 million), board members of Security Bank Corp.; self-made fashion designer Josie C. Natori at 45th with $150 million; and Jerry Liu, chairman of semiconductor maker Cirtek Holdings Philippines Corp., at 46th with $145 million.
“However, this year’s list saw a notable 27 fortunes decline,” Forbes Asia said.
It mentioned Betty Ang (32nd, $270 million) of noodle giant Monde Nissin Corp., who lost 70% of her wealth after a sharp fall in net income, based on the company’s latest available annual report.
The wealth of media tycoons Gilberto R. Duavit, Jr. (48th, $135 million), Menardo R. Jimenez (49th, $130 million) and Felipe L. Gozon (50th, $125 million) also fell as shares in their GMA Network, Inc. dropped 11%. The firm posted a 21% fall in earnings last semester.
Philip T. Ang and Luis J. L. Virata of Nickel Asia Corp. dropped off the list as the mining sector was hit by stricter regulations on nickel extraction and stiffer competition from Indonesia. — V. V. Saulon