Henry Sy, takes the top spot on the Forbes Philippines Rich List for nine years in a row, with a net worth of US$13.7 billion. The complete Forbes Philippines Rich List is available here as well as in the latest issues of Forbes Asia and Forbes Philippines.
The 91-year old tycoon first entered the retail market in 1958 with a footwear shop in Manila. Sy’s family-owned SM Investments is now the largest retailer in the Philippines with stakes in banking, property and retail. In March this year, SM Investments announced a tie-up with Singaporean e-commerce company, Lazada.
Featured in the cover story of Forbes Asia, John Gokongwei Jr. retains his No. 2 spot on the list with a net worth of $6.8 billion, up from $5.5 billion last year. Over the years, the founder of JG Summit has built his business into Philippines’ fifth largest company with a market capitalization of $13.2 billion and diverse business interests including an airline, banking, food, hotels, power, chemicals, real estate and telecommunications. As he turns 90 this year, he is handing over the reins of the family business to the next generation.
Several tycoons with interests in development and construction enjoyed a particularly robust year. Given plans by the new administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to invest in a “golden age of infrastructure”, the fortunes of these tycoons could rise even higher.
The year’s biggest winner percentage-wise is new billionaire Edgar Sia II (No. 17, $1.2 billion). The 39-year old saw his wealth increase by 200%, thanks to DoubleDragon Properties, the fast-growing real estate development company he owns with Tony Tan Caktiong (No. 6, $4.3 billion). Shares of DoubleDragon Properties soared by 350% due to strong rental revenues and growth of its CityMalls brand. The company announced in August 2016 that it was acquiring a majority stake in Hotel of Asia Inc.
Ramon Ang (No. 16, $1.21 billion), who runs conglomerate San Miguel, saw his net worth increase by $700 million to $1.21 billion due to the company’s growth strategy in energy and other infrastructure which propelled its stock value by 50%. Originally a brewer, San Miguel is the market leader in food and beverages but the bulk of its revenues stems from power, fuel, oil and infrastructure businesses. In May, Ang announced plans to build three power plants and a food complex in Mindanao. Ang’s personal investment in cement company Eagle Cement also contributed to his wealth as it boasted 30% margins in 2015.
New to the list this year is Ben Tiu (No. 44, $175 million). The eldest son of self-made steel magnate John Tiu Ka Cho took over TKC Metals in 1987 and led its entry into financial services with thrift bank Sterling Bank of Asia. He also co-founded one of the country’s largest non-banking remittance companies, I-Remit.
Bienvenido Tantoco Sr. (No. 46, $165 million) suffered the biggest loss percentage-wise this year. His wealth fell by 65% from $480 million last year. Amid a competitive market and an increase in expenses, his publicly-listed SSI Group saw its first-quarter net profit fall by half compared to the year before.
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