By Max V. de Leon/BusinessMirror – Eleven Filipinos made it to the 2013 Forbes Billionaires List, with mall magnate Henry Sy emerging as the second-richest Southeast Asian based on net worth.
The family of Sy, who started gaining wealth through his SM Malls and later diversified into real estate and other businesses, was ranked 68th on the Forbes list, with a net worth of $13.2 billion.
He placed just below Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, whose net worth totaled $13.3 billion.
“The Philippines’s richest man, Henry Sy, saw his fortune swell by more than $5 billion as shares of his holding firm SM Investments, the country’s most valuable company, surged by over 50 percent, fueled by reports that it may merge its property units. SM Prime, which he controls and is run by son Hans, is the Philippines’s largest mall developer; it opened a fifth mall in China in December. Unibank, run by daughter Teresita Sy-Coson, is the country’s largest bank,” Forbes said.
Sy, the magazine added, came from China as a child to work in his father’s convenience store. “Starting with a small shoe store in Manila, he built one of the country’s largest retail groups.”
The other Filipinos who made it to the 2013 Billionaires List were Lucio Tan and his family (ranked 248th with net worth of $5 billion); Enrique Razon Jr. (258th, $4.9 billion); Andrew Tan (345th, $3.95 billion); David Consunji and family (503rd, $2.8 billion); George Ty and family (554th, $2.6 billion); Lucio and Susan Co (736th $2 billion); Robert Coyiuto Jr. (931st, $1.6 billion); Tony Tan Caktiong and family (1,031st, $1.4 billion); Andrew Gotianun and family (1,175th, $1.2 billion); and Roberto Ongpin (1,175th, $1.2 billion).
Forbes’s latest list, consisting of 1,426 names with an aggregate net worth of $5.4 trillion, was again led by Mexican telecommunications mogul Carlos Slim Helu (net worth of $73 billion), followed by Microsoft’s Bill Gates ($67 billion), Amancio Ortega of Spanish retailer Zara ($57 billion), Warren Buffet ($53.5 billion) and Larry Ellison of Oracle ($43 billion).
There were 1,426 names on the 2013 list, with 201 new additions.
“Once again the US leads the list with 442 billionaires, followed by Asia Pacific , Europe , the Americas  and the Middle East and Africa ,” Forbes said.
Sy emerged as the ninth-richest Asian after Li Ka-shing (Hong Kong, diversified business, $31 billion, ranked 8th overall); Mukesh Ambani (India, petrochemicals, oil and gas, $21.5 billion, 22nd); Lee Shau Kee (Hong Kong, diversified, $20.3 billion, 24th); Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, investments, $20 billion, 26th); Thomas and Raymond Kwok and Family (Hong Kong, real estate, $20 billion, 26th); Lakshmi Mittal (India, steel, $16.5 billion, 41st); Cheng Yu-Tung (Hong Kong, diversified, $16 billion, 44th); Dhanin Chearavanont and family (Thailand, food, $14.3 billion, 58th); and Tadashi Yanai and family (Japan, retail, $13.3 billion, 66th).
This is the 27th year of the publishing of the Forbes Billionaires list.
“Our reporters dig deep and travel far. To compile net worths, we value individuals’ assets—including stakes in public and private companies, real estate, yachts, art and cash—and account for debt. We attempt to vet these numbers with all billionaires. Some cooperate; others don’t. We also consult an array of outside experts in various fields,” Forbes said.
It added, “the Forbes Billionaires [List] ranks individuals rather than large, multi-generational families who share large fortunes. So Maja Oeri, who has a disclosed stake in pharmaceutical firm Roche, makes the list, but her eight relatives who, with a non-profit foundation, share a $16-billion fortune do not. In some cases, we list siblings together if the ownership breakdown among them isn’t clear, but here, too, they must be worth a minimum of $2 billion.”
Tobacco king Lucio Tan, who, according to Forbes, started as a chemical engineer and mopped floors to pay for school, consolidated many of his private holdings, including Asia Brewery, which makes popular Beer na Beer, and his stake in Philip Morris-Fortune Tobacco, which has an estimated 80-percent market share of the country’s cigarette market into publicly listed LT Group in which he owns close to 90 percent. Fortune includes Hong Kong-based Eton Properties, and a stake in Philippines Airlines.
Razon, Forbes said, controls the Manila-listed International Container Terminal Services and saw his wealth climb by $3 billion following last May’s listing of Bloomberry Resorts, his new hotel and casino venture in which he retains a 71-percent stake. His Solaire Resort & Casino is one of four new casinos in the Manila Bay complex. In December, he sold nearly 9-percent stake in Bloomberry to Global Gaming, the casino manager, at much below market value as per a pre-arranged deal.
Andrew Tan, who is a son of a factory worker, did odd jobs to put himself through college, Forbes said.
“Saved money he earned as a kitchen appliance salesman to buy a distillery and made his first fortune in brandy. His holding company, Alliance Global, which has interests in food and beverage, real estate, gaming, saw its shares climb 70 percent since last year on higher profits, revenues from gaming. With Malaysian tycoon Lim Kok Thay’s Genting Hong Kong, he plans to start building a new $1.1-billion casino, Resorts World Bayshore, in a new entertainment hub in the Philippines, that is due to be completed in 2016,” Forbes said.
Consunji, a former concrete inspector, debuted on the list on better understanding of his holdings, Forbes said. “He founded the construction company DMCI in 1954 and later expanded into infrastructure, real estate, mining and power. Stock price of the Philippines Stock Exchange-listed company, which is up more than twenty-fold since its 2009 low, took hit recently when an accident at its coalmine in Antique province claimed three lives. Son Isidro is DMCI Holding’s president.”
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