PHL tycoons’ wealth surges by 30% amid pandemic

PHL tycoons’ wealth surges by 30% amid pandemic

THE 50 RICHEST families and individuals in the Philippines saw a “robust recovery” as their collective wealth surged by 30% to $79 billion (P3.94 trillion) this year even as the pandemic continued, according to Forbes.

Topping the Forbes 2021 Philippines Rich List were the heirs of the late SM Group founder Henry T. Sy, Sr. with a $16.6 billion fortune, after gaining $2.7 billion this year. The Sy siblings, Elizabeth, Hans, Henry Jr., Harley, Herbert, and Teresita, inherited their fortune from their father after he died in January 2019.

Real estate tycoon and former Senate president Manuel B. Villar, Jr. remained in second spot after seeing his wealth increase by $1.7 billion to $6.7 billion this year.

In April, Forbes named Mr. Villar as the Philippines’ richest man after ranking 352nd on its annual billionaires list. His listed companies include Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc., Vistamalls, Inc., and Golden MV Holdings, Inc.

Ports tycoon Enrique K. Razon, Jr. added $1.5 billion to his net worth, which now stood at $5.8 billion. Mr. Razon is the chairman and president of International Container Terminal Services, Inc. and recently took over Manila Water Co.

“Despite the ravages of COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019), the economy notched up double-digit growth in this year’s second quarter. Investor sentiment remained buoyant, [fueling] a 13% rise in the benchmark stock index from a year ago,” Forbes said in a statement.

Forbes said the Sy family, Mr. Villar and Mr. Razon were also the biggest dollar gainers this year, adding nearly $6 billion to their wealth.

The minimum net worth for this year’s richest list was also raised to $200 million from last year’s $100 million.

JG Summit Holdings, Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Lance Y. Gokongwei and his siblings ranked fourth on the Forbes list with a combined net worth of $4 billion, slightly lower than last year’s $4.1 billion. The Gokongweis have interests in airlines, telecommunications, banking, food, power, and property.

Jaime Zobel de Ayala is the fifth richest in the country with $3.3 billion. He was chairman of the Ayala Group until his retirement in 2006. His seven children now control over a third of the $3.9-billion conglomerate, which has businesses in property, banking, real estate and telecommunications, among others.

Converge ICT Solutions, Inc. Dennis Anthony H. Uy and his wife Maria Grace Y. Uy made their debut on the Forbes list, ranking sixth with $2.8 billion. The Pampanga-based couple saw their wealth surge after Converge raised $522 million from its initial public offering last year.

Jollibee Foods Corp. (JFC) Chairman and founder Tony Tan Caktiong ranked seventh on the list with $2.7 billion. Aside from Jollibee, he also has a stake in DoubleDragon Properties, Inc. — a joint venture with Edgar Sia II.

On eighth spot with a net worth of $2.7 billion is Alliance Global Group, Inc. (AGI) Chairman Andrew L. Tan. AGI is the holding company for his businesses that include Megaworld Corp., Emperador, Inc. and Golden Arches Development Corp.

San Miguel Corp. (SMC) President and Chief Executive Officer Ramon S. Ang is on ninth spot with $2.3 billion.

The Ty siblings, composed of Arthur, Alfred, Alesandra, and Anjanette, landed on 10th place in the richest list with $2.2-billion net worth. The Ty siblings are heirs of late banking tycoon, listed GT Capital Holdings, Inc. and Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co. founder George Ty.

FOUR WOMEN
There were only four individual women on the Forbes list. Mercury Drug President Vivian Que Azcona ranked 15th with a net worth of $1.65 billion. Soledad Oppen-Cojuangco, whose late husband and SMC chairman Eduardo Cojuangco died last year, is in 17th place with a $1.42 billion wealth.

On 20th spot is Mercedes Gotianun, whose late husband Andrew founded the Filinvest group, with a net worth of $1.25 billion.

Monde Nissin Corp. cofounder and president Betty T. Ang is ranked 18th this year, up 20 spots from a year ago, after the company conducted a $1-billion IPO in June. Ms. Ang was this year’s biggest percentage gainer on the Forbes list after her wealth increased over seven times to $1.4 billion.

The Monde Nissin IPO also helped boost the fortunes of its other executives.

Monde Nissin Chairman Hartono Kweefanus and his family are the 11th richest in the Philippines with a net worth of $1.95 billion. The Indonesia-born tycoon is the brother-in-law of Ms. Ang, while his late father is the founder of Monde Nissin.

Monde Nissin CEO Henry Soesanto ranked 25th with a $795 million fortune. His wife Monica Darmono is the sister of Mr. Kweefanus.

On 35th spot with a wealth of $410 million are brothers Keng Sun and Peter Mar, who have a stake in Monde Nissin after their family business M.Y. San was sold to the food giant.

Other newcomers to the Forbes list included the owners of 8990 Holdings, Inc. Luis N. Yu, Jr., who is also a board director of the mass housing developer, is on the 32nd spot with a net worth of $445 million, while board chairman Mariano D. Martinez, Jr. is at the 49th spot with $205 million.

Husband-and-wife Benedicto V. Yujuico and Teresita M. Yujuico rank at 48th, benefiting from the listing of the DDMP REIT, Inc. which they co-own with Mr. Sia.

Mr. Sia, on the other hand, ranked 28th with a wealth of $675 million. At 44, he is also the youngest person on the Forbes list. Aside from DDMP REIT, he also owns listed firms DoubleDragon, and Merrymart Consumer Corp.

Davao-based businessman Dennis A. Uy is the 27th richest in the country with a net worth of $710 million, up from $650 million a year ago. He is the founder of Udenna Corp., whose businesses include shipping, oil, petroleum, logistics and real estate.

Forbes said that over half of those included in the top 50 richest list saw an increase in their wealth this year.

However, over a dozen recorded a decline in their fortune. One of them is liquor and airline tycoon Lucio C. Tan, who is in 12th spot with a $1.9-billion net worth. Mr. Tan’s Philippine Airlines, Inc. last week filed for bankruptcy in the US as the tourism industry continues to reel from the pandemic.

Forbes based the net worth on stock prices and exchange rates as of Aug. 20. Unlike the billionaire rankings, Forbes said this list includes family fortunes, including those shared among extended families. — K.C.G.Valmonte

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