MANILA, Philippines - Mall tycoon Henry Sy is the richest man in the Philippines for a sixth straight year with an estimated net worth of $12 billion, according to the latest Forbes Philippines Rich List.
The Forbes list also includes 7 newcomers, such as Araneta group chairman Jorge Araneta, who ranked 24 with a net worth of $505 million; Oishi snacks maker Carlos Chan, who ranked 25 with net worth of $500 million; ports tycoon Michael "Mikee" Romero who ranked 26 with net worth of $490 million and A. Brown founder Walter Brown, who ranked 30 with a net worth of $270 million.
San Miguel president and COO Ramon S. Ang finally made it to the richest list, ranking 31 with a net worth of $260 million. This after he bought an 11% stake in the conglomerate from chairman Danding Cojuangco.
Also new to the list are Zest-O maker Alfredo Yao (ranked 42 with a net worth of $180 million) and Megawide Construction president and COO Edgar Saavedra (ranked 44 with net worth of $170 million).
Forbes said the combined net worth of the Philippines’ 50 richest totaled $65.8 billion, more than a quarter of the nation’s GDP.
Forbes also noted the strong economic growth has boosted the wealth of the richest in the Philippines.
Sy's net worth increased by $2.9 billion to $12 billion in 2012, as a result of the surge in shares of SM Investments.
Tobacco tycoon Lucio Tan also remained the second richest in the country, as his wealth increased by $3 billion to $7.5 billion this year.
Alliance Global's Andrew Tan jumped to third place with a net worth of $4.6 billion, followed by ports tycoon Enrique Razon with $4.5 billion and JG Summit founder John Gokongwei Jr. with $3.4 billion.
The Forbes Philippines Rich list this year included 17 "dollar" billionaires, two more than the previous year.
The two new billionaires were former Senator and property magnate Manuel Villar (#16 with net worth of $1.05 billion) and Aboitiz family (#7 with net worth of $3 billion).
Lopez Holdings patriarch Oscar Lopez ranked 22, with an estimated net worth of $675 million.
This year's list also saw the return of four Filipinos to the richest list, Far Eastern University chairman Lourdes Montinola (#47, $155 million); Nickel Asia's Luis Virata (#48, $120 million); Nickel Asia vice chairman Philip Ang (#49, #115 million) and First Pacific CEO Manuel Pangilinan (#50, $105 million).
Forbes noted that Pangilinan's "net worth estimate is based on what we can prove, though sources claim he owns higher stakes than publicly known."
Forbes said this year's list saw no drop-offs, but 9 tycoons were "poorer" compared to the 2012 list. (For the Forbes Rich List in 2012, click here.)
Former trade minister Roberto Ongpin fell to 14th spot with a net worth of $1.3 billion. Last year. Ongpin was ranked 9th with a net worth of $1.5 billion.
Danding Cojuangco saw his net worth drop to $825 million to land on 20th spot. In 2012, he ranked 10th with an estimated wealth of $1.4 billion.
Other "poorer" tycoons were Century Properties chairman Jose Antonio ($255 million this year from $300 million in 2012), mining baron Manuel Zamora Jr. ($240 million this year from $255 million in 2012), businessman Alfredo Ramos ($225 million this year from $250 million in 2012) and Juliette Romuladez ($165 million this year from $200 million in 2012).
Owners of GMA Network also suffered a decline in their net worth, after shares dropped when Pangilinan's attempt to buy the media company failed. Gilberto Duavit's wealth fell to $224 million, while Menardo Jimenez's net worth dropped to $223 million and GMA Network chief Felipe Gozon net worth dropped to $200 million.
Forbes said the list was compiled using shareholding and financial information obtained from the families and individuals, stock exchanges, analysts and other sources. Net worths are based on stock prices and exchange rates as of the close of markets on July 19.
For the full list of the Forbes Philippines Rich List, click here.