MANILA - Filipino-Chinese mall tycoon Henry Sy is the Philippines' richest man for the 10th year in a row, as captains of the country's top conglomerates benefited from robust economic growth, according to rankings released by Forbes Magazine on Thursday.
The net worth of Sy, who parlayed his SM Mall business into real estate and banking, grew to $18 billion from $13.7 billion. He was the biggest gainer in dollar terms on the list, according to Forbes.
Sy recently entrusted the chairmanship of SM Investments to his long-time CFO, Jose Sio, shaking up the line succession in the mostly family-run conglomerate that also includes the country's largest lender, BDO Unibank.
Tycoon John Gokongwei Jr. of JG summit was second, even as his net worth declined to $5.5 billion from $6.8 billion, the magazine said. Gokongwei's group controls the country's largest airline, Cebu Pacific, Robinsons Mall and Robinsons Land.
Port magnate Enrique Razon zoomed up 5 places on the list to third richest, after his net worth grew $800 million to $4.3 billion, the magazine said. His Solaire Casino has been sustaining a turnaround from a net loss last year.
Seven of the 10 biggest dollar gainers have interests in construction and property, including DMCI chairman David Consunji who placed 6th and San Miguel Corp President Ramon Ang, who is tenth on the list.
Aside from infrastructure, Ang is growing his Eagle Cement business, which listed shares on the stock exchange earlier this year. He also recently agreed to buy a majority stake in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Half of the country's top 50 tycoons saw their net worth fall, with lethargic trading in the stock market and the peso slumping against the dollar.
Taipan Lucio Tan held at 4th place with $4.2 billion, with his tobacco business under threat from a nationwide smoking ban.
Double Dragon chairman Edgar Sia's net worth fell 32 percent to $820 million as shares of the developer retreated.
Alfredo Yao's net worth fell 26 percent to $600 with his softdrink venture, Macay holdings, under threat from a planned tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. He also owns fruit drink-maker Zest-O.
STI Education Systems Holdings chairman Eusebio Tanco is a newcomer to the list at 45th, as a surge in demand for computer courses boosted his net worth to $150 million.
The top 10 richest in Philippines in 2017, according to Forbes Magazine are:
1 Henry Sy ($18 billion)
2 John Gokongwei Jr. ($5.5 billion)
3 Enrique Razon Jr. ($4.3 billion)
4 Lucio Tan ($4.2 billion)
5 Jaime Zobel de Ayala ($3.7 billion)
6 David Consunji ($3.68 billion)
7 George Ty ($3.6 billion)
8 Tony Tan Caktiong ($3.4 billion)
9 Andrew Tan ($2.5 billion)
10 Ramon Ang ($2.3 billion)
View the Forbes Magazine richest in the Philippines list for 2016 here.