The Philippines Richest 2012

By Suzy Nam, – Despite European woes, the Philippines’ remittance-driven economy outperformed most of its neighbors; it grew 6.4% in the last quarter, driven by an ongoing consumer boom and a surge in tourism and outsourcing. The stock ­market index gained 17% in the past year. The 40 richest on this nation of islands saw their fortunes rise even faster. Their collective wealth grew over $13 billion to $47.4 billion. There are now 15 billionaires, up from 11 a year ago.

Click here for the full list of Philippines’ Richest

While Henry Sy retained his spot as the country’s richest person, with a net worth of $9.1 billion, the country’s biggest gainer was Enrique Razon Jr., who became a billionaire just last year with $1.6 billion and is now the country’s third-richest person, worth $3.6 billion. He made his first fortune in ports, taking over the family business, International Container Terminal Services, at 27. He turned ICTS into one of the largest port operators in Asia, then expanded into Europe, North America and the Middle East.

But much of the $2 billion jump in his wealth this year is from his stake in Bloomberry Resorts, which had a public offering in May. Earlier he’d used $200 million of his own money to secure one of only four gaming licenses in the Philippines. Bloomberry plans to open a resort casino on Manila Bay in 2013 that Razon hopes will position the country as a gaming destination alongside Macau and Singapore.

Gambling is turning into a popular sport among the country’s billionaires. Andrew Tan’s Alliance Global, which partnered with Malaysia’s Genting, has the country’s only private casino in Manila, Resorts World, which opened in 2010 across from the airport. The Sy family is also getting in on the action with its own Manila Bay resort and casino, scheduled to open next year.

Overall, 34 of the 37 returnees to the list are richer. Robert Coyiuto Jr., who owns part of power-transmission outfit National Grid, saw his net worth more than double, becoming the biggest gainer in percentage terms. There are three newcomers: Lucio and Susan Co, a husband-and-wife team who join the ranks of billionaires thanks to last September’s IPO of their hypermarket chain Puregold Price Club. Another debutant is 38-year-old civil engineer Michael Cosiquien, who took his building company Megawide Construction public last year and saw its stock triple.

Two from 2011 missed this year’s $140 million cutoff: Luis Virata of Nickel Asia and media tycoon Eugenio Lopez. Benjamin Romualdez’s fortune is now listed under his widow, Juliette.

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