Sy, Zobel clans on list of Asia’s wealthiest
Two Filipino clans were named among the 50 wealthiest families in Asia, according to a 2017 list released by Forbes Magazine.
The family of Henry Sy Sr., which built the SM Group into the Philippines’ first multitrillion-peso business empire, was the ninth richest while the Zobel family behind the country’s oldest conglomerate, Ayala Corp., stood at No. 43.
Forbes Magazine said the Sys, which own the country’s biggest retail, banking and property group, had a combined fortune of $20.1 billion or about P1 trillion, up 57 percent from $12.8 billion in 2016, when they were the 17th richest in Asia.
The Sy family’s assets are mainly held through publicly traded firms SM Investments Corp. and SM Prime Holdings, each valued at more than P1 trillion on the Philippine Stock Exchange.
The Zobels, through their more than 180-year-old conglomerate, are involved in property development, banking, telecommunications, power and infrastructure. Their fortune was pegged at $6.13 billion, up from $5.1 billion last year. The business is led by siblings Jaime Augusto and Fernando.
In its statement, Forbes also highlighted the next-generation leaders, citing 29-year-old Howard Sy, a grandson of Sy Sr. “A former investment analyst, Sy started a 24-hour self-storage company called StorageMart a year ago, anticipating that the country’s condominium boom would create a demand for storage space. His company now operates two facilities in Metro Manila,” Forbes noted.
Forbes said India’s Ambani family, which owns conglomerate Reliance Industries, topped the 2017 Forbes list for the first time with a net worth of $44.8 billion. Taking the No. 2 spot was the Lee family of South Korea’s Samsung, with a fortune of $40.8 billion.
“The collective wealth of Asia’s 50 richest families on the list are worth a record $699 billion, up 35 percent from last year,” according to Forbes Magazine.
Indeed, 43 clans from the 2016 list added to their net worth from a year ago. A key reason: Asia’s stock markets jumped 25 percent overall for the year ended Oct. 31, according to the MSCI AC Asia Index. Collectively, the 50 families on the list were worth a record $699 billion, up by nearly $200 billion from last year.
No family highlighted this surge better than the Ambanis of India, this year’s biggest gainer in dollar and percentage terms. Their net worth rose by $19 billion, superseding the Lees of the Samsung empire to claim the No. 1 spot. That perch was always occupied by the South Korean family, which still saw its wealth swell by $11.2 billion. Shares in Mukesh Ambani’s conglomerate Reliance Industries soared due to improved refining margins and the demand produced by its telecom arm, Reliance Jio, which notched up 140 million subscribers since it launched in 2016.
For the third time, India enjoyed the biggest presence in the ranking, with 18 families. Hong Kong followed with nine this time. Among the six clans making their debut were the Chey family (No. 39) of South Korea’s SK Group, widely known for its wireless service provider, SK Telecom.
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