Businessman Henry Sy crashes into Forbes’ 100 richest people in the world

Henry Sy

MANILA, Philippines—As the Philippines gained the bragging rights as Southeast Asia’s fastest-growing economy, 10 of its tycoons led by SM group founder Henry Sy made it to Forbes magazine’s 2014 list of wealthiest people on the planet.

In the latest annual ranking of global billionaires published on March 3, the net worth of Sy and family was estimated at $11.4 billion, lower than last year’s $13.2 billion. But it was enough to enable him to keep his ranking as the country’s richest man and to be among the world’s top 100 billionaires.


The 89-year-old Sy, whose SM group dominates the local banking, retailing and property development scene, ranked 97th globally, down from last year’s 68th.

The magazine said its estimates were a snapshot of wealth on Feb. 12, when it locked in stock prices and exchange rates from around the world.


Stock prices in the Philippines have pulled back from record highs seen last year as large global funds pulled out of emerging markets since May last year when the US Federal Reserve announced a tapering of the monetary stimulus that boosted financial markets in the last few years.

Worth of $6.4T

A total of 1,645 billionaires made it to the global list this year with a combined net worth of $6.4 trillion, up from $5.4 trillion a year ago.

The ranks of the world’s billionaires continued to scale new heights and expand to new corners of the world, according to Forbes.

The country’s second-richest man is still Lucio Tan, with an estimated net worth of $6.1 billion, ranking 227th globally. The 79-year-old Tan, who has interests in tobacco and beverage manufacturing, banking, property development and aviation, saw his net worth rise from last year’s $5 billion.

Ranked third-richest in the Philippines this year is Megaworld and Alliance Global Group founder Andrew Tan, 61, with an estimated net worth of $4.7 billion, rising from last year’s $3.95 billion.

He was followed by Enrique Razon Jr., chief of global port operator International Container Terminal Services Inc. and Bloomberry Resorts Corp., with a net worth of $4.2 billion. At 54, Razon is the youngest among Philippine billionaires.


Joining this year’s list and ranking fifth among the country’s wealthiest is JG Summit founder John Gokongwei Jr., 86, with an estimated net worth of $3.9 billion.

Completing the local roster are construction magnate David Consunji (net worth: $3.3 billion), Metrobank group and GT Capital founder George Ty and family ($2.3 billion), Jollibee group founder Tony Tan Caktiong ($1.7 billion), stockbroker, insurance and car dealership magnate Robert Coyiuto Jr. ($1.5 billion) and Filinvest group founder Andrew Gotianun ($1 billion).

Except for Gokongwei, all these billionaires were also on the 2013 list.

Two names that were part of Forbes’ 2013 global list but are no longer on this year’s roster are retailer Lucio and Susan Co, founder of fast-growing retailing chain Puregold and Cosco Capital as well as Alphaland and Philweb chair Roberto V. Ongpin, who complained about being included on the list.

Bill Gates world’s richest

Globally, Microsoft founder Bill Gates is back on top, toppling telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico, who had topped the list the past four years.

Spanish clothing retailer Amancio Ortega, best known for the Zara fashion chain, retained the No. 3 spot for the second year in a row, extending his lead over legendary American investment guru Warren Buffett, who is again at No. 4.

The magazine said roughly two-thirds of the billionaires had built their own fortunes, 13 percent inherited them and 21 percent had been adding on to fortunes they received.

Other notable newcomers include World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Vince McMahon, fashion king Michael Kors and Denise Coates of UK online betting firm Bet365.

This is the 28th year for the Forbes billionaires list.

To compile net worths, the magazine valued individuals’ assets—including stakes in public and private companies, real estate, yachts, art and cash—and take into account estimates of debt.

“We attempt to vet these numbers with all billionaires. Some cooperate; others don’t. We also consult an array of outside experts in various fields,” the magazine said.

Dictators, royalty excluded

The Forbes billionaires list ranks individuals rather than large, multigenerational families who share large fortunes. The list neither includes dictators who derive their fortunes entirely as a result of their positions of power nor royalty who, often with large families, control the riches in trust for their nation, the magazine said.

Because of the technology boom and strong stock market, the United States once again has the biggest number of billionaires (492).


The year’s biggest gainer was Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, 29, whose fortune jumped by $15.2 billion to $28.5 billion as shares of his social network skyrocketed.

The United States was followed by China (152) and Russia (111) as the countries with the biggest concentration of billionaires.

But Forbes also noted that wealth was spreading to new places. New billionaires have been discovered in Algeria, Lithuania, Tanzania and Uganda.

The magazine said that for the first time, an African, Aliko Dangote of Nigeria, broke into the Top 25 with a net worth of $25 billion.

Originally posted at 11:03 am | Tuesday, March 4, 2014

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