Businessman Enrique K. Razon jumped to the third richest man in the country after successes in his drive to expand globally his port operating business, overtaking perennial third placer taipan Lucio Tan, the 2017 Forbes Philippines Rich List showed Razon, Chairman of International Container Terminal Services, saw his wealth rise by $800 million from $3.5 billion to $4.3 billion this year against Tan who has a networth of $4.2 billion, the Forbes list showed.
Property retail and banking tycoon Henry Sy continues to retain his title as the country’s richest for 10 consecutive years.
His net worth has surged to $18 billion, up from $13.7 billion previously, making him the biggest gainer in dollar terms based on the Forbes Philippines Rich list.
SM Investments, in which Sy holds a 54 percent stake, recapitalized to expand its retail malls at home and in China. John Gokongwei Jr. (second, $5.5 billion), founder of JG Summit, saw his fortune fall by $1.3 billion from $6.8 billion last year.
Seven of the ten biggest dollar gainers have sizable interests in construction and property development.
These include construction tycoon David Consunji (sixth, $3.68 billion), Chairman of DMCI Holdings, and Ramon Ang (tenth, $2.3 billion) of San Miguel, who nearly doubled his wealth due largely to a favorable initial public offering (IPO) by his cement company, Eagle Cement.
Brisk economic growth in the Philippines of nearly seven percent this year is expected to carry into 2018, benefiting magnates who enjoy a broad business reach, according to Forbes. An infrastructure push by the government has been particularly favorable for some construction and property development tycoons on the list, it added.
Cofounders Michael Cosiquien (29th, $385 million) and Edgar Saavedra (31st, $375 million) also saw their wealth rise by more than 45 percent, buoyed by a 30 percent uptick in the shares of their infrastructure company Megawide Construction.
The 20-year old company, which handles construction of schools, Mactan Cebu International Airport and the country’s first intermodal transportation hub, reported a rise in construction and airport revenues over the past year.
While some infrastructure tycoons saw gains in their wealth, others on the list did not fare as well.
Half of the country’s top 50 tycoons saw their net worths fall. The benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) was virtually flat over the past year and the peso slumped against the US dollar on a surge in imports, taking a toll on the wealth of the Philippines’ richest.
Lucio Tan (fourth, $4.2 billion), whose LT Group has interests in tobacco, spirits, banking and property development, saw his fortune shrink by $700 million from $4.9 billion last year.
While Edgar Sia II (21st, $820 million) enjoyed a surge in his net worth last year, his wealth fell by 32 percent this year as shares of his DoubleDragon Properties retreated.
Net worth of Alfredo Yao (25th, $600 million) was down 26 percent as shares in his soft drink maker Macay Holdings, dipped 21 percent on news of an impending raise in taxes on sugary drinks.
Making his debut on the list is Eusebio Tanco (45th, $150 million). Shares of his key asset STI Education Systems Holdings soared 136 percent over the past year, due to an expanding demand for courses in fields such as information and communication technology, and business and management.
There are two returnees to the list this year, Walter Brown (43rd, $160 million) and Philip Ang (50th, $120 million) both returned to the list after a one-year hiatus.
The minimum amount required to make the list was $120 million, down from $145 million last year.
The top 10 richest in Philippines are: Henry Sy, $18 billion; John Gokongwei Jr., $5.5 billion; Enrique Razon Jr., $4.3 billion; Lucio Tan, $4.2 billion; Jaime Zobel de Ayala, $3.7 billion; David Consunji, $3.68 billion; George Ty, $3.6 billion; Tony Tan Caktiong, $3.4 billion; Andrew Tan, $2.5 billion; and Ramon Ang, $2.3 billionForbes said the list was compiled using information from the individuals, stock exchanges, analysts,private data bases, government agencies and other sources.
Networths were based on stock prices and exchange rates as of the close of markets on August 14. Private companies were valued by using financial ratios and other comparisons with similar publicly traded companies.