Henry Sy still richest Pinoy — Forbes

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By Siegfrid O. Alegado/GMA News – Shopping mall tycoon Henry Sy and his family remained the country’s richest for the sixth straight year, even as seven individuals debuted on the Forbes Philippines Rich List, the American magazine said Thursday.

The combined net worth of the Philippines’ 50 richest totaled $65.8 billion, more than a quarter of the nation’s gross domestic product, said Forbes.

Henry Sy—who heads the country’s most valuable company, SM Investments Corporation—has an estimated net worth of $12 billion.

“The Philippines’ richest person Henry Sy saw his fortune swell by $2.9 billion, boosted by the surge in shares of his SM Investments, the country’s most valuable company, which reported record profits of over $570 million in 2012,” said Forbes.

Following Sy is Lucio Tan, whose net worth was estimated at $7.5 billion. His conglomerate, LT Group Inc., handles Asia Brewery Inc., maker of popular Beer na Beer, and has a stake in Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp. Inc., which has an estimated 80 percent market share of the country’s cigarette market.

In third place with a net worth of $4.6 billion is Andrew Tan, chairman of listed holding firm Alliance Global Group Inc. He runs one of the country’s largest developers Megaworld Corporation.

Andrew Tan also has stakes in Emperador Distillers Inc., maker of Emperador Brandy, and Golden Arches Development Corporation, which runs the McDonald’s franchise in the Philippines.

Enrique Razon Jr., who owns port operator International Container Terminal Services Inc. and casino operator Bloomberry Resorts Corporation, was at fourth place with a net worth of $4.5 billion.

Meanwhile, John Gokongwei Jr. of the JG Summit Holdings Inc. has a fortune of $3.4 billion, making him the fifth richest in the Philippines.

Jaime Zobel de Ayala and his family—who run the Philippines oldest conglomerate, Ayala Corp.— are at sixth place with a net worth of $3.1 billion, while the Aboitzes of Cebu are at seventh with fortunes amounting to $3 billion.

Rising wealth

Forbes noted that “(a) surge in the economy has lifted the wealth of the Philippines’ richest.”

The Philippine economy grew 7.8 percent in the first quarter, the fastest in Asia. The country also received the much coveted investment grade rating this year.

University of Asia and the Pacific senior economist Victor Abola, however, raised red flags over comparing Forbes’ list to Filipino’s earnings and even the country’s economy as a whole.

“A number of these persons do not own what ‘final good’ companies, so it’s wrong to say that they comprise of a certain percentage of GDP, which is the market value of the Philippines production of final goods,” Abola said in a telephone interview Thursday.

“It’s also wrong to compare it to everyone else’s income and expenditure, as Forbes List is based on ‘paper wealth’,” he added.

At best, Abola said the Forbes Philippines Rich List “could be compared to other rich lists in other countries made by Forbes.”

According to Forbes, the list was compiled using shareholding and financial information obtained from the families and individuals, stock exchanges, analysts and other sources.

“Unlike the Forbes billionaire rankings, this list comprises family fortunes, including those shared among extended families such as that of Oscar Lopez and the Aboitiz clan,” Forbes noted.

Net worth is based on stock prices and exchange rates as of the close of markets on July 19, while companies whose stocks are not publicly traded “were valued based on similar companies that are publicly traded,” the magazine said.

Newcomers

Meanwhile, the Forbes Rich List welcomed seven newcomers, like Araneta group chairman Jorge Araneta, who ranks 24th with a net worth of $505 million.

Carlos Chan, who heads Oishi snacks maker Liwayway Marketing Corp., ranks 25th with net worth of $500 million.

Ports tycoon Michael Romero, meanwhile, ranks 26 with net worth of $490 million. Son of construction magnate Reghis Romero II, Michael “converted family’s reclaimed land into Harbour Center Port Terminal, now country’s biggest bulk and break bulk port,” Forbes said.

A. Brown Company Inc. founder Walter Brown debuted at number 30 with a net worth of $270 million.

San Miguel president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang also made it to the list for the first time, with his net worth estimated at $260 million, making him the Philippines’ 31st richest.

Ang made it to the list after buying an 11 percent stake in the conglomerate from chairman Danding Cojuangco.

Also new to the list are Zest-O maker Alfredo Yao (debuting at 42 with a net worth of $180 million) and Megawide Construction president and chief operating officer Edgar Saavedra (ranked 44 with net worth of $170 million).

Money in Media

There were also persons from the media industry present on the list, including GMA Network Inc.’s Gilberto Duavit (ranked 37th with $244 million) and Felipe Gozon (41st with $200 million).

Manila Bulletin’s Emilio Yap (13th with $1.35 billion) and ABS-CBN Corp.’s Oscar Lopez (22nd with $675 million).

Associated Broadcasting Company’s owner Manuel V. Pangilinan capped the 50 richest list with $105 million.

Pangilinan is chief executive of Hong Kong-listed First Pacific Co. Ltd., which has stakes in Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company and Manila Electric Company in the Philippines and Indonesian instant noodles maker Indofood.

“His net worth estimate is based on what we can prove, though sources claim he owns higher stakes than publicly known,” Forbes said.

For the full list, click here.

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