PH tycoons' fortunes fall as pandemic disrupts businesses, Sy siblings richest: Forbes

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 17 2020 10:34 AM | Updated as of Sep 17 2020 11:15 AM

SM Megamall, the second largest shopping mall in the Philippines, is pictured at night. Photo from SM Supermalls Facebook page

MANILA - (UPDATED) The coronavirus pandemic led to a drop in the fortunes of the Philippines' richest according to Forbes, with a total of 32 listees posting a decline in their net worth.

"Tycoons on the 2020 Forbes Philippines Rich List saw their collective wealth fall 22 percent to $60.6 billion as the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the country’s economy," said Forbes.

The children of mall and banking tycoon Henry Sy took the biggest hit in dollar terms, with their fortune down by $3.3 billion but remain the country's richest with a net worth of $13.9 billion.

Property tycoon and former Philippine Senator Manuel Villar is the country’s second richest man, even as his wealth fell $1.6 billion to $5 billion.

Ports magnate Enrique Razon Jr. moved up to No. 3 this year with a net worth of $4.3 billion, down from $5.1 billion previously, it said.

Newcomers on the list are Lance Gokongwei and his siblings, who debuted at No. 4 with a net worth of $4.1 billion. They replace their father John Gokongwei Jr., who passed away in November 2019.

The top 10 richest in the Philippines are:

  1. Sy siblings; US$13.9 billion
  2. Manuel Villar; $5 billion
  3. Enrique Razon Jr.; $4.3 billion
  4. Lance Gokongwei & siblings; $4.1 billion
  5. Jaime Zobel de Ayala; $3.6 billion
  6. Andrew Tan; $2.3 billion
  7. Lucio Tan; $2.2 billion
  8. Ramon Ang; $2 billion
  9. Tony Tan Caktiong; $1.9 billion
  10. Lucio & Susan Co; $1.7 billion


Fast food billionaire and Jollibee Group owner Tony Tan Caktiong suffered a pandemic-induced blow to his wealth this year.

"The lack of dine-in services cut sales by nearly half and sent his company’s shares down more than 40 percent, reducing Tan Caktiong’s net worth by 37 percent," said Forbes.

Oscar Lopez, who holds a majority stake in TV network ABS-CBN, saw his net worth nearly halve to $240 million after Philippine lawmakers in July rejected the company’s bid to renew its 25-year broadcast license. Lopez ranked 32nd.

Four tycoons returned to the ranks, largely due to this year’s lower cutoff, which fell 23 percent from last year’s list to $100 million. They are Michael Romero (No. 46, $135 million) of Globalport 900; Luis Virata (No. 48, $115 million) of Nickel Asia, Mikel Aboitiz (No. 49, $110 million) of Aboitiz Equity Ventures and Lourdes Montinola (No. 50, $100 million) of Far Eastern University, Forbes said.

Edgar Sia II saw his fortune rise and this year’s biggest gainer adding $300 million, or 75 percent to his net worth now at $700 million. Sia ranked 21 in the Philippines richest list.

"The rise was partly due to the successful IPO of his MerryMart in June as shares of the grocer have nearly doubled since the listing as quarantine measures boosted sales," added Forbes.