By: Doris Dumlao-Abadilla – Philippine Daily Inquirer 10:11 AM August 27th, 2015
THEY are at the top of the pyramid in the Philippines when it comes to economic prowess.
Led by tycoon Henry Sy of the iconic SM group of companies for the eighth straight year, they are the 50 wealthiest families in this side of the world, based on the 2015 country ranking made by Forbes Magazine.
Sy, 90, topped the list of top 50 richest in the country with an estimated fortune of $14.4 billion, Forbes Asia magazine said in an article that appears in its September 2015 issue. Sy’s wealth expanded by another $1.7 billion since last year’s ranking.
SM Investments Corp.- which is now run by Sy’s children – is the dominant player in Philippine banking (through Banco de Oro Unibank and China Bank), retailing (SM Retail) and property development (SM Prime Holdings). With the consolidation of all real estate assets into SM Prime, this unit has also become a leading player in Southeast Asia.
Completing the top 10 list are tycoons John Gokongwei Jr. (2nd), Andrew Tan (3rd), Lucio Tan (4th) of LTG Group, Enrique Razon Jr. (5th), George Ty (6th), Aboitiz family (7th), Jaime Zobel de Ayala (8th), David Consunji (9th) and Jollibee founder Tony Tan Caktiong (10th).
Gokongwei of the JG Summit group – which has interests in food and beverage, real estate, airline, banking and petrochemicals – has an estimated net worth of $5.5 billion.
Andrew Tan of the Megaworld and Alliance Global Group has an estimated net worth of $4.5 billion, followed by Lucio Tan’s $4.3 billion. Lucio Tan’s LT Group Inc. is into tobacco manufacturing, banking, real estate, beer and hard liquor production while the group also controls flag carrier Philippine Airlines.
Razon, who leads International Container Terminal Services Inc. and integrated gaming operator Bloomberry Resorts Corp., has an estimated net worth of $4.1 billion.
Ty – the patriarch behind GT Capital Holdings which is into banking, power generation, real estate, car manufacturing and distribution and bancassurance – has an estimated net worth of $4 billion.
The Aboitiz family has an estimated fortune of $3.6 billion built out of power and banking businesses while Consunji’s $3.2 billion wealth is derived from construction, coal mining, power generation and real estate.
Tan Caktiong, founder of globalizing fast-food giant Jollibee Foods Corp., has an estimated net worth of $2.2 billion.
Cited as among the newly minted billionaires in this 2015 list are: Oscar Lopez, 85, patriarch of the Lopez conglomerate which has interests in broadcasting through ABS-CBN Corp. and First Philippine Holdings, which is mostly into power generation.
Dean Lao – who ranked 16th in this list was cited as another newbie billionaire with an estimated fortune of $1.1 billion – as food and plastics input manufacturing firm D&L Industries has attained higher valuations as a proxy play on the consumer-driven local economy.
Meanwhile, the youngest in the top 50 list is Edgar Sia II, who has an estimated net worth of $390 million at age 38. He is the only one below the age of 40 in this elite roster.
Sia first built a fortune out of the fast-food chain “Mang Inasal,” then sold a controlling stake to rival Jollibee Foods Corp. and has since then entered into a partnership with the latter’s founder Tan Caktiong on property development. The venture DoubleDragon Properties Corp. – called as such because both Sia and Tan Caktiong were born in the Lunar year of the dragon – has a key subsidiary that is now building a chain of 100 community shopping malls across the country.
Only four families led by women landed on the list, namely those led by: Betty Ang ($905 million), Vivian Que Azcona ($780 million), Beatrice Campos ($740 million) and Juliette Romualdez ($160 million).
Betty Ang heads food manufacturer Monde Nissin, best known locally for its “Lucky Me” brand and is expected to go public by next year.
Azcona’s family operates the Mercury Drug chain, which has at least 1,000 stores and employs 11,000 people.
Campos is co-founder of pharmaceutical manufacturer Unilab while her family also controls the Del Monte food group.
Romualdez, the widow of Benjamin “Kokoy” Romualdez, has interests in mining through Benguet Corp. Forbes said most of her family’s fortune came from the sale of a minority stake in Banco de Oro Unibank.
Ranking 11th to 20th in the list and their estimated net worth are as follows: Lucio and Susan Co of retailing group Puregold ($1.7 billion); Robert Coyiuto Jr. ($1.6 billion) whose family is into power, insurance and car dealership; real estate magnate and former Senator Manuel Villar who chairs Vista Land & Lifescapes ($1.5 billion); the Yap family ($1.4 billion) which owns Philtrust Bank and broadsheet Manila Bulletin; Alfredo Yao ($1.3 billion) who founded the Zest-O food and beverage group and is now also into banking, real estate and airlines; Dean Lao ($1.1 billion); Oscar Lopez ($1 billion), Andrew Gotianun of the Filinvest group which is into real estate, banking, sugar and power generation ($910 million), Betty Ang ($905 million) and Roberto Ongpin ($900 million) who is into property development (Alphaland Corp.), mining (Atok Big Wedge) and technology/gaming (Philweb Corp.).
Ranking 21st to 30th are: Inigo and Mercedez Zobel ($870 million); Vivian Que Azcona ($780 million); Eduardo Cojuangco ($770 million); Beatrice Campos ($740 million), Ricardo Po ($640 million), whose family is into food manufacturing (Century Pacific) and property development (Arthaland Corp.); Jorge Araneta ($560 million) whose fortune is anchored on real estate; Carlos Chan ($550 million) who runs the Liwayway Holdings Co.,a regional snack-food manufacturer with a large presence in mainland China; Mariano Tan Jr. ($520 million) who is into pharmaceuticals and affordable housing; Ramon Ang ($510 million), president of San Miguel Corp. who has transformed the food and beverage group into a diversified conglomerate in less than a decade; and Alfonso Yuchengco ($500 million) whose family is into banking, insurance, healthcare, construction, education and information technology.
Landing on the 31st to 40th slot are: Bienvenido Tantoco Sr. ($480 million) of the Rustans/SSI retailing group; Manuel Zamora ($450 million) who founded Nickel Asia Corp.; Concepcion family ($400 million) which is into food and consumer electronics manufacturing; Edgar Sia ($390 million); Frederick Dy ($310 million) who chairs Security Bank; Jacinto Ng ($275 million) of the Rebisco Group; Tomas Alcantara ($270 million) of Alsons Consolidated Resources which is into power generation; Fred Elizalde ($260 million); Wilfred Steven Uytengsu Jr. ($255 million) and Eric Recto ($240 million).
Completing the roster from 41st to 50th place are: miners Philip Ang ($230 million) and Luis Virata ($225 million); Jose Antonio ($220 million) of the Century Properties Group; PJ Lhuillier ($175 million) who is into pawnshops; GMA-7 stockholders Gilberto Duavit ($170 million) and Menardo Jimenez ($165 million); Juliette Romualdez ($160 million); Felipe Gozon ($155 million), the third leg of the GMA7 triumvirate; miner Walter Brown ($140 million) and Alfredo Ramos ($120 million) of National Bookstore and Atlas Mining.
The list is made available by Forbes at www.forbes.com/philippines-billionaires/list#tab:overall.