Sy, Villar lead Forbes’ richest in PH | Inquirer News

Sy, Villar lead Forbes’ richest in PH

By: - Business Features Editor / @philbizwatcher
/ 07:08 AM September 07, 2018

Some of them have grown wealthier despite slower domestic economic growth, higher inflation and the recent stock market downturn.

Others saw the value of their assets decline, but in this part of the world, they are the Philippines’ real roster of “crazy rich Asians.”


The most remarkable gains made by those on Forbes Magazine’s list of 50 richest in the Philippines were those by Manuel Villar.


Villar’s wealth tripled

Villar tripled his wealth over the past year to $5 billion from $1.65 billion, making him the country’s second richest after Henry Sy Sr., the topnotcher for the 11th straight year.

Only a year ago, Villar, who retired from politics and focused on running his business empire after losing his 2010 presidential bid, was not even on Forbes’ Top 10.

The increase in his fortune was due to the skyrocketing of shares of the Villars’ Golden Bria, which fine-tuned its business model from one that serves only the dead to that which also serves the living through mass housing.

Consistent topnotcher

Golden Bria, now valued by the stock market at over P200 billion or more than double the valuation of flagship property business Vista Land, is among the companies reportedly vying to be the country’s third telecommunication provider.


The net worth of Sy, founder of the SM group, rose to $18.3 billion this year from $18 billion previously.

The SM group owns the three most valuable companies in the country: conglomerate SM Investments Corp., property developer SM Prime Holdings and BDO Unibank.

JG Summit founder John Gokongwei Jr. slipped by one notch to No. 3 with a net worth of $4.4 billion.

The conglomerate has interests ranging from banking and real estate to airlines, telecommunications, power and food.

Jaime Zobel de Ayala, patriarch of the country’s oldest business house Ayala Corp., rose by one notch to No. 4 and saw his fortune rise by $300 million to $4 billion.

Port terminal and integrated gaming tycoon Enrique Razon Jr. ranked fifth, with a net worth of $3.9 billion.

Tony Tan Caktiong, founder of fast-food giant Jollibee, ranked sixth richest with a fortune of $3.85 billion.

Lucio Tan ranked No. 7 with a net worth of $3.8 billion.

San Miguel’s Ramon Ang

Thanks to a rise in shares of San Miguel Corp. by 70 percent from a year ago, Ramon Ang landed at No. 8 with $2.85 billion.

SMC shares have sizzled ahead of a massive public offering planned by its consolidated traditional business unit, San Miguel Food and Beverage.

GT Capital patriarch George Ty ranked ninth richest with a net worth of $2.75 billion while property tycoon Andrew Tan ranked 10th with $2.6 billion.

Iñigo and Mercedes Zobel were No. 11 with $2.5 billion and Eduardo Cojuangco made it to No. 14 with $1.4 billion. Their fortunes grew despite the stock market slump.

Others with a net worth of over $1 billion are retailers Lucio and Susan Co (No. 13 at $1.5 billion); power and insurance magnate Robert Coyiuto Jr. (No. 15 at $1.3 billion); Roberto Ongpin (No. 16 with $1.25 billion); and  Ricardo Po Sr. (No. 18 with $1.05 billion).

Seven newcomers

The seven newcomers on the list of 50 richest are Isidro Consunji and his siblings (No. 12, $2.45 billion) who replaced their founder father, David, who died last September.

William Belo (No. 22, $600 million) of big-box chain Wilcon Depot; Necisto Sytengco (No. 41, $180 million) of chemical trading outfit SBS Philippines; Alberto Villarosa (No. 42, $170 million).

Rafael Simpao (No. 44, $155 million) of Security Bank; self-made fashion designer Josie Natori (No. 45, $150 million); and Jerry Liu (No. 46, $145 million) of semiconductor maker Cirtek Holding.

Betty Ang (No. 32, $270 million) of noodle giant Monde Nissin lost 70 percent of her wealth on a sharp fall in net income.

The wealth of media tycoons Gilberto Duavit (No. 48, $135 million), Menardo Jimenez (No. 49, $130 million) and Felipe Gozon (No. 50, $125 million) also fell as shares in GMA Network dropped by 11 percent.

Mining magnates’ decline

Mining magnates Philip Ang and Luis Virata dropped off the list as the sector suffered from tighter state regulations on nickel extraction and increased competition from Indonesia.

The minimum amount required to make the list was $125 million, up from $120 million last year.

The youngest on the list of the Philippines’ top 50 richest are Edgar Sia, 41, with a net worth of $475 million, and Megawide Construction Corp. cofounders Edgar Saavedra, 43, and Michael Cosiquien, 44, with a net worth of $245 million and $240 million, respectively.

Businessman Eric Recto, 55, has an estimated net worth of $260 million.

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There were five women in the male-dominated roster: Mercedes Gotianun ($1.15 billion); Beatrice Campos ($700 million), Vivian Que Azcona ($290 million); Josie Natori ($150 million) and Juliette Romualdez ($140 million).

(The complete list can be found at

TAGS: Henry Sy, Manuel Villar

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