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Sy leads 11 PH billionaires on Forbes list

1 HENRY SY: $7.2B, 2 LUCIO TAN: $2.8B, 3 GOKONGWEI: $2.4B, 4 ANDREW TAN: $2B, 5 D.M. CONSUNJI: $1.9B, 6 ZOBEL: $1.7B, 7 RAZON: $1.6B, 8 COJUANGCO: $1.4B

The Filipino rich are richer than ever thanks to the “booming” stock market, and mall magnate Henry Sy remains on top for the fourth year in a row, according to the latest list by Forbes magazine.

It said the stock market boom expanded the Philippines’ billionaires’ list to a record 11, with the combined wealth of the 40 richest also hitting an all-time high.

The 86-year-old Sy has a net worth of $7.2 billion, up from $5 billion last year, according to Forbes’ list posted on the magazine’s website on June 22.

The Sy family owns shopping mall developer SM Prime, as well as SM Investments and Banco de Oro Unibank.

The Philippines’ richest are collectively worth $34 billion, up from last year’s $22.8 billion.

“The stock exchange’s composite index is up 27 percent since last year, surpassing its 2007 benchmark,” Forbes said. “This lifted the fortunes of the country’s richest to an all time high.”

Forbes noted that the number of billionaires in the Philippines more than doubled this year to 11, “a record haul.”

Six Filipinos became billionaires for the first time as the paper value of their shares in listed companies soared.

Ongpin, biggest gainer

“The Philippine economy grew only 4.9 percent in the first quarter of the year in part because of a drop in trade and lower infrastructure spending by government, off from 8.4 percent in 2010, but the country’s stock market is booming,” Forbes said.

Thirty-two of the 40 tycoons are richer this year.

The biggest gainer in percentage terms is former Trade Minister Roberto Ongpin, 74, whose fortune increased more than fourfold to $1.3 billion, according to Forbes. Ongpin has interests in mining firm Atok-Big Wedge.

Youngest billionaire

Among the new billionaires is port operator Enrique Razon, 51, whose net worth jumped to $1.6 billion from $975 million in 2010. He is also the country’s youngest billionaire.

A minimum of $85 million was needed to make the list this year, up from last year’s $50 million.

Richest 11

Following Sy on the list is tobacco magnate Lucio Tan, 77, with a net worth of $2.8 billion. Tan owns the national flag carrier Philippine Airlines and Hong Kong-based Eton Properties.

John Gokongwei, 83, founder of JG Summit, a conglomerate with interests in airlines, telecoms, power, banking and real estate, and owner of Robinson’s department stores, is third with $2.4 billion.

Andrew Tan, 58, of the Alliance Global Group, owner of the country’s McDonald’s franchise, is fourth with a net worth of $2 billion.

David Consunji, 90, who founded construction company DMCI Holdings in 1954, is in fifth place with $1.9 billion. He climbed up the list from 12th place last year.

Jaime Zobel de Ayala, 77, chairman emeritus of Ayala Corp., one of the country’s largest conglomerates, is sixth with a net worth of $1.7 billion, followed by Razon, at 7th.

Eduardo Cojuangco Jr., 76, who controls food and beverage conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC), is in eighth place with $1.4 billion, followed in 9th place by Ongpin.

The Supreme Court recently affirmed with finality Cojuangco’s hold on 20 percent of the shares of stock in SMC, ruling that it wasn’t ill gotten, as alleged by the Presidential Commission on Good Government.

In 10th place is Metrobank founder George Ty, 78, with $1.1 billion.

The last billionaire on the list is Jollibee Foods’ Tony Tan Caktiong, 58, with a billion dollars.

Other newcomers

Consunji, Cojuangco, Ongpin, Ty and Caktiong are among the new billionaires.

Other newcomers on the list of the country’s richest are Jose Antonio (24th place, $245 million), founder of high-end property developer Century Properties; Jacinto Ng Sr. (35th place, $115 million), founder of biscuit maker Rebisco; and 34-year-old Edgar Sia II (40th place, $85 million), the youngest millionaire on the list, who sold his barbecue chain Mang Inasal to Caktiong’s Jollibee Foods.

Also in top 40

Also making it to the top 40 are Iñigo and Mercedes Zobel ($980 million), Emilio Yap ($930 million), Andrew Gotianun ($795 million), Jon Ramon Aboitiz ($760 million), Beatrice Campos ($685 million), Manuel Villar ($620 million), Vivian Que Azcona ($555 million), Robert Coyiuto Jr. ($400 million), Mariano Tan ($375 million), Alfonso Yuchengco ($370 million).

Also on the list are Enrique Aboitiz ($310 million), Oscar Lopez ($280 million), Jose Antonio ($245 million), Eric Recto ($200 million), Gilberto Duavit ($190 million), Menardo Jimenez ($185 million), Alfredo Ramos ($180 million), Betty Ang ($165 million), Felipe Gozon ($163 million), Tomas Alcantara ($160 million), Benjamin Romualdez ($155 million), Wilfred Uytengsu Sr. ($150 million), Manuel Zamora ($145 M), Jacinto Ng Sr. ($155 million), Frederick Dy ($110 million), Luis Virata ($100 million), Bienvenido Tantoco Sr. ($95 million), Eugenio Lopez III ($90 million) and Edgar Sia II ($85 million).

Magnanimous, too

Forbes said the Filipino rich were also among Asia’s most magnanimous.

Lucio Tan sent 700,000 bottles of water to tsunami-hit Japan, and his charity foundation has been a big backer of teacher training, medical missions and housing for the poor, it added.

Four on the 2010 Forbes list didn’t make the cut.

They included Lourdes Montinola, whose family owns 41 percent of Far Eastern University; and Jesus Tambunting, who controls Planters Development Bank. Their gains couldn’t match the stellar performance of others on the list. Eliza Victoria, Inquirer Research and AFP
Sources: Forbes.com, Inquirer Archives

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Tags: Adrew Tan , Banking , banks , D.M. Consunji , Eduardo Cojuangco , Enrique Razon , Filipino billionaires , Filipino-Chinese , Filipino-Spanish , Forbes’ list , Henry Sy , Jaime Zobel de Ayala , John Gokongwei , Lucio Tan , mall magnate , real estate

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