Sy leads 14 PH tycoons on Forbes billionaires’ list
More Filipino tycoons, almost all of whom made their fortunes catering to the Philippines’ massive consumer market, earned their place among the richest individuals in the world, a global billionaires list compiled by Forbes Magazine showed.
The annual World’s Billionaires list, now on its 31st edition, again named SM Group founder Henry Sy Sr. as the Philippines’ richest man, with a fortune of $12.7 billion. This was more than double the wealth of the next Filipino on the list, John Gokongwei Jr.
Forbes’ list showed 14 Filipino tycoons with a fortune of at least $1 billion, versus 11 in 2016, indicating robust prosperity among the 1 percent as the Philippines posted among of the fastest economic gains in the region last year.
Four names were added this year: San Miguel Corp. president Ramon Ang; SMC chair Eduardo Cojuangco Jr.; former trade minister Roberto Ongpin; and property tycoon Edgar Sia II. Dropped from the current list were Pure Gold Price Club Inc. owners Lucio Co. and his wife, Susan.
Forbes said 2,043 individuals were listed this year, up 13 percent from 1,810 billionaires in 2016. Combined, these individuals controlled fortunes valued at $7.67 trillion, also a record.
In the Philippines, the billionaires made their money mainly in traditional sources with a solid consumer footprint: food; drinks; property; and banking.
Bill Gates, founder of software giant Microsoft Corp, was named the world’s richest, with a fortune of $86 billion. He was followed by legendary investor Warren Buffet, with $75.6 billion and e-commerce giant Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, with $72.8 billion.
Rounding out the top five were Amancio Ortega, founder of Spanish clothing chain Zara, whose fortune topped $71.3 billion and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, with $56 billion.
Sy is the Philippines’ richest man, with his SM Investments Corp. dominating the country’s banking (BDO Unibank), mall and retail sectors.
John Gokongwei Jr., whose family controls JG Summit Holdings Inc., followed with a net worth of $5.8 billion.
The third richest in the country is Lucio Tan, who is into spirits, banking, tobacco, real estate and the airline business, with a fortune of $3.7 billion.
George Ty, with a net worth of $3.5 billion, started GT Capital Holdings, owner of Metropolitan Bank and Trust, Federal Land and Toyota Motors Philippines.
Enrique Razon Jr., the only Filipino of Spanish descent among the top five, owns global ports operator International Container Services Inc. and Bloomberry Resorts and has a fortune of $3.4 billion.
Tony Tan Caktiong, with $3.4 billion, is the founder of Jollibee Foods Corp., the country’s biggest fast food chain.
David Consunji, with $3.1 billion, was a former concrete inspector before starting the construction company DMCI in 1954.
Tied as the 9th richest in the country are Robert Coyiuto Jr., head of Prudential Guarantee & Assurance, and former senator and Vista Land and Lifescapes Inc. founder Manuel Villar Jr., each with a fortune of $1.5 billion.
Ramon Ang, with a fortune of $1.4 billion, is president of SMC, a food and beverage giant that almost a decade ago diversified into infrastructure.
Ang is considered the “protégé” of Eduardo Cojuangco Jr., who is next on the list with a fortune of $1.2 billion, who remains the conglomerate’s chair.
Roberto Ongpin, who last year resigned from gaming cafe operator Philweb Corp. after being tagged as an “oligarch” by President Duterte, has nevertheless done well for himself.
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