Sy siblings still PHL’s richest even as wealth drops by $4B

THE SY SIBLINGS remained the richest in the Philippines, despite a $4-billion drop in their net worth in 2022, according to Forbes Asia.

The combined wealth of 50 tycoons in the Philippines dropped by 9% to $72 billion this year, from $79 billion a year ago, as the economy continued to recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“More than two-thirds of the listees saw their wealth shrink,” Forbes Asia said in a statement on Thursday.

Philippines' 50 richest 2022The Philippine economy expanded by 7.4% in the second quarter, bringing the average gross domestic product (GDP) to 7.8% in the first six months of 2022. However, elevated inflation, monetary policy tightening and geopolitical tensions have weighed on growth.

“Despite domestic demand recovering from the pandemic, the pressures of inflation, rising commodity and energy prices, reduced exports, a weak stock market and a depreciating currency all contributed to the decline of the combined wealth of the 50 richest tycoons in the country,” Globalinks Securities and Stocks, Inc. Head of Sales Trading Toby Allan C. Arce said in a Viber message on Thursday.

Forbes based the tycoons’ net worth on stock prices and exchange rates as of market close on July 22.

Topping the list of the Philippines’ 50 richest people are the six Sy siblings, namely Teresita, Elizabeth, Henry Jr., Hans, Herbert and Harley.

The Sys have a combined net worth of $12.6 billion, $4 billion lower from a year ago’s $16.6 billion. They inherited their fortune from their late father and SM Group founder Henry Sy, Sr., who died in 2019.

“For the Sy family, while SM Prime Holdings, Inc. and BDO Unibank, Inc. did quite well, it was the drop in the share price of SM by 21% that has really taken a toll on their net worth,” AP Securities, Inc. Equity Research Analyst Carlos Angelo O. Temporal said in a Viber message.

Manuel B. Villar, property tycoon and former politician, ranked second on the Forbes list after his net worth rose by $1.1 billion to $7.8 billion this year. He was the biggest dollar gainer in the list, according to Forbes Asia.

Mr. Villar, whose companies include publicly listed Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc., VistaMalls, Golden MV Holdings, and VistaREIT, is still the wealthiest individual on the Forbes list.

“With regards to (Mr.) Villar, there was a significant rise in his net worth mostly attributable to the recent IPOs (initial public offerings) of his two companies: AllDay Marts, Inc. and VistaREIT,” Mr. Temporal said.

The third richest Filipino is Enrique K. Razon, Jr., chairman and president of International Container Terminal Services, Inc., whose net worth slipped to $5.6 billion, from $5.8 billion a year ago.

“The slight decline of 3% in [Mr. Razon’s] net worth could be primarily due to the 13% drop in the share price of Manila Water Co., Inc., the water concessionaire that Razon acquired from the Ayala group last June 2021,” Mr. Temporal said.

In fourth place are JG Summit Holdings, Inc. President and CEO Lance Y. Gokongwei and his siblings, with a net worth of $3.1 billion, lower than the $4 billion last year.

The Aboitiz family ranked 5th on the list with a combined fortune of $2.9 billion, unchanged from a year ago.

“Rising interest rates and elevated WESM (Wholesale Electricity Spot Market) prices have presented a favorable environment for two of their major companies: Aboitiz Power Corp. and UnionBank of the Philippines. Moreover, recent acquisition of Citi Business has also boosted the valuations of the latter. We note that AP and UBP’s market cap has increased by 28% and 68%, respectively,” Mr. Temporal said.

In sixth spot is DMCI Holdings, Inc. Chairman Isidro A. Consunji and his siblings, whose wealth surged by a 47% increase to $2.65 billion this year.

Jollibee Foods Corp. founder Tony Tan Caktiong and his family remained in 7th place, despite a slight drop in their net worth to $2.6 billion this year, from $2.7 billion last year.

Ayala Corp. Chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala and his family dropped to 8th place as their wealth fell 22% to $2.55 billion, from $3.3 billion a year ago.

Ramon S. Ang, San Miguel Corp. vice-chairman and president, ranked 9th on the Forbes list as his net worth rose by 6% to $2.45 billion.

In 10th spot is Alliance Global Group, Inc. Chairman Andrew L. Tan, whose wealth slipped to $2.4 billion this year, from $2.6 billion in 2021.

The Forbes list included two new entrants — the Po family and Sylvia C. Wenceslao.

The Po family, the heirs of Century Pacific Food founder Ricardo Po, Sr., ranked 16th on the list with a net worth of $1.2 billion.

Ms. Wenceslao, who took over as chair of D.M. Wenceslao & Associates, Inc. after her husband Delfin’s death last year, had a net worth of $340 million at 39th place.

According to Forbes, the minimum net worth to make the Philippines’ richest list was $185 million, down from $200 million in 2021. — J.I.D. Tabile

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