MANILA, Philippines - Eighty-five-year-old mall magnate Henry Sy remains the richest man in the Philippines while tycoon John Gokongwei joined the elite billionaires' list this year, according to the annual listing conducted by Forbes Magazine.
The annual listing said the country's richest men are now worth US$22.8 billion, up 39% from $16.4 billion a year ago. Forbes said the buoyant economy, which grew 7.3% in the first quarter of this year, coupled with the 17% rise in the stock market since last year contributed to the growth in wealth of the country’s richest tycoons.
Forbes compiles the list based on information from individuals, stock exchanges, public documents and analysts as well as estimates of the privately held assets of the businessmen. The minimum net worth to make the list this year increased to $50 million, up from $38 million previously.
Forbes said Sy's wealth went up to $5 billion, $1.2 billion more than last year. It said Sy's SM Investments Corp., one of the country’s biggest conglomerates with interests in retail, mall operations and banking, got a 25% boost in stock price in the past year.
The magazine said Sy has held the richest Pinoy title four times, including this year, since Forbes Asia published the inaugural list of the country’s richest in 2006.
Second on the list is tycoon Lucio Tan with $2.1 billion, up from $1.7 billion in 2009. The 76-year old tycoon owns a bevy of businesses which include Fortune Tobacco, Asia Brewery, and Hong-Kong based Eton Properties.
Third on the list is first-time billionaire John Gokongwei Jr. The 83-year-old is worth $1.5 billion, more than double his last year’s net worth of $720 million.
"His JG Summit Holdings’ shares hit a two-year peak earlier this year, pushing his net worth into the 10-figure bracket. The stock rose partly on plans to list the group’s budget carrier, Cebu Pacific, whose IPO subsequently got delayed," Forbes said.
Fourth on the list is Ayala Corporation’s Jaime Zobel de Ayala, who had an estimated net worth of $1.4 billion.
Rounding out the top 5 is Alliance Global Group’s Andrew Tan with $1.2 billion.
1) Henry Sy; US$5 billion
2) Lucio Tan; $2.1 billion
3) John Gokongwei Jr.; $1.5 billion
4) Jaime Zobel de Ayala; $1.4 billion
5) Andrew Tan; $1.2 billion
6) Tony Tan Caktiong; $980 million
7) Enrique Razon Jr.; $975 million
8) Beatrice Campos; $840 million
9) George Ty; $805 million
10) Eduardo Cojuangco Jr.; $760 million
Forbes said there are 5 billionaires in the country's wealthiest list this year, compared with three last year. It said at least 28 others on the list also enjoyed growth in net worth, most notably 89-year old David Consunji, who was ranked No. 12 on the list.
Consunji's net worth soared to $715 million, up from $300 million in 2009 and $105 million in 2008, as his construction firm DMCI’s shares have more than doubled.
Villar, GMA Network execs a little poorer
Forbes said four tycoons are poorer compared to a year ago.
Sen. Manuel Villar, who lost the Philippine presidential election in May, dropped to No. 17 with a reduced net worth of $380 million, down from $530 million last year.
Three top executives of GMA Network namely Gilberto Duavit (No. 25; $145 million), Menardo Jimenez (No. 26; $143 million), and Felipe Gozon (No. 27; $120 million) also saw their personal net worth drop this year.
Forbes said there were two new entrants in the country's richest list namely former minister of trade Roberto Ongpin (No. 21; $300 million) and Wilfredo Keng (No. 32; $100 million).
Ongpin is part of an investor group that is poised to become the majority shareholder in diversifying conglomerate San Miguel Corp. The 73-year old also has investments in property, gaming, mining and telecom.
On the other hand, Keng runs mining company Century Peak Metals.