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Most PH tycoons saw their fortunes trimmed by global stock market downturn – Forbes

/ 09:17 PM March 02, 2016

MANILA — The global stock market downturn has trimmed the fortunes of most tycoons in the Philippines but 11 of them remained on the list of wealthiest people on the planet, based on Forbes magazine’s 2016 roster of billionaires.

Forbes Magazine – which has ranked the world’s richest for the 30th year – reported a decline in the global headcount of billionaires to 1,810 billionaires from a record-high 1,826 a year ago. The publication estimated the combined net worth of this rare breed at $6.48 trillion, $570 billion less than last year.

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Eleven of those billionaires were from the Philippines and this year’s list was pretty much the same as in 2015 – except that this year, most of these tycoons saw their wealth shrinking. There was likewise some slight realignment among mid-ranked local tycoons.

As expected, the 2016 list was topped by SM group founder Henry Sy Sr., JG Summit Holdings founder John Gokongwei and LT Group Inc. founder Lucio Tan.

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The 91-year-old Sy – patriarch of the SM group which dominates local property (SM Prime Holdings), banking (Banco de Oro and China Bank) and retailing (SM Retail) businesses, and is also a philanthropist – remains the richest person in this part of the world with an estimated net worth of $12.9 billion. His net worth declined from last year’s $14.2 billion but he remains the only tycoon from this country to be among the world’s top 100, based on Forbes’ ranking. He was ranked as the 71st wealthiest person on the planet.

SM Investments Corp., the flagship conglomerate led by the Sy family, is now the most valuable company in the stock market with market capitalization of P704 billion as of Wednesday (March 2). Its banking arm BDO is the first among local banks to breach the P2-trillion mark in total resources.

JG Summit’s Gokongwei, who is turning 90 this year, remained number two on the list and likewise saw a decline in estimated net worth to $5 billion from $5.8 billion last year.

Gokongwei has been called the “industrialist challenger,” unafraid to venture into highly competitive new sectors like telecommunications, or dipping into untested waters, like petrochemicals, and nurturing them no matter how long it takes to achieve profitability. A long time ago, he also planted the seeds for overseas diversification and built an expansive Asia-Pacific footprint for Universal Robina Corp. (URC). In 2014, URC bought Auckland-based Griffin’s Foods Ltd., New Zealand’s leading biscuit and snack food manufacturer, for about NZ$700 million (P26.37 billion).

JG Summit is a conglomerate seen to have benefited and yet to benefit further from favorable demographics in the country and the region through its food and beverage (URC), airline (Cebu Air) and property (Robinsons Land Corp.) businesses. The group likewise has equity investments in the Manila Electric Co., Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. and Singaporean property developer UIC Ltd.

Tycoon Lucio Tan kept his number three ranking with an estimated net worth of $4 billion compared to $4.4 billion last year. Tan’s group is into tobacco (49.6 percent of Philippine Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp.), beverage (Tanduay Holdings and Asia Brewery), banking (Philippine National Bank), airline (Philippine Airlines and property development (Eton Properties).

GT Capital Holdings’ George Ty slid to fourth place on the local list with an estimated net worth of $3.7 billion, down from $4.4 billion last year. Last year, Ty was estimated to be just as rich as Lucio Tan (who has a daughter married to Ty’s son).

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Construction magnate David Consunji, property tycoon Andrew Tan and Jollibee Foods Corp. founder Tony Tan Caktiong were all valued at $3 billion, sharing the fifth place in the local list.

Andrew Tan – who is into property development (Megaworld Corp.), integrated gaming resort (Travellers International Hotel Group) and beverage (Emperador Inc.) businesses – saw his net value decline from $4.8 billion last year. Tan has been expanding his property businesses while Emperador has been gobbling up assets in Europe, the latest of which is the acquisition of Spain’s iconic brandy-maker Fundador.

Consunji also saw a drop in fortune compared to last year’s net worth of $4.1 billion. DMCI Holdings is into construction, property development, water, coal/nickel mining and power generation (Semirara Mining and Power Corp.).

Jollibee founder and recently retired chief executive officer Tony Tan Caktiong is the only one among Philippine tycoons in the 2016 list who saw an increase in net worth to $3 billion from $2.7 billion last year. Apart from Jollibee – which a globalizing company and a favored consumer play in the stock market – Tan Caktiong co-founded fast-growing property developer Double Dragon Properties Corp. with younger magnate Edgar “Injap” Sia II.

“From Saudi Arabia to the borough of Queens in New York City, Tony Tan Caktiong’s fast food restaurants dot the globe. His publicly traded Jollibee Foods marked its entry into the mainstream burger market with a 40 percent acquisition of food chain Smashburger in October of 2015. Jollibee Foods is the fastest-growing Asian restaurant chain in the world. They sell Filipino, Chinese, American and European recipes adapted to a modern, quick serve, affordable format,” Forbes magazine said.

International port terminal and gaming operator Enrique Razon Jr. was sixth on the list with an estimated $2.4 billion in net worth, which marked a big drop from last year’s estimated fortune of $5.2 billion. Razon is the controlling shareholder in International Container Terminal Services Inc. and integrated gaming resort Bloomberry Resorts Corp. The decline in wealth is due to the slump in the shares of gaming stocks in the region.

Retailing couple Lucio and Susan Co of Puregold Price Club Inc. ranked next on the list with an estimated net worth of $1.6 billion, at par with the fortunes of Robert Coyiuto, who derives most of his wealth from the family-held private insurance business and a 30 percent stake in the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines. The Cos’ estimated wealth declined from last year’s $2.3 billion while Coyiuto’s fortune also slipped from last year’s $1.8 billion.

Completing the list was former Senator Manuel Villar, a real estate magnate, who focused on growing Vista Land & Lifescapes after losing to President Aquino during the 2010 presidential elections. The businessman – who is making up for decades lost when he was busy with politics – has an estimated net worth of $1.3 billion, lower than $1.6 billion last year. He made it to the global list for the second year in a row.

Amid the global stock market volatility, oil price slump and strengthening of the US dollar, Forbes magazine reported a “dynamic reshuffling of wealth around the globe and a drop in ten-figure fortunes for the first time since 2009.”

“It was also the first time since 2010 that the average net worth of a billionaire dropped – it is now $3.6 billion, $300 million less than last year,” the magazine said.

Forbes reported a reshuffling of billionaires starting at the top.

“Only two people in the top 20 managed to hold onto their ranks. Bill Gates remains the richest person in the world with a net worth of $75 billion, despite being $4.2 billion poorer than a year ago,” the magazine said. Gates has topped the list for three years in a row and topped the list 17 out of 22 years.

Legendary American investor Warren Buffett remained at No. 3. while Zara’s Amancio Ortega climbed to No. 2 for the first time, displacing Mexico’s Carlos Slim, who slipped to No. 4. The magazine estimated that Slim’s fortune had fallen by $27.1 billion to $50 billion in the past year, as shares of his telecom business América Móvil tumbled.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had “the best year of all billionaires,” the magazine said, with the 31-year-old social media tycoon adding $11.2 billion to his fortune and moving up to No. 6 from 16.

Zuckerberg and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos both made it to the top 10 list for the first time.

Meanwhile, a billionaire from China’s mainland, Wang Jianlin – whose company owns AMC Theaters and soon will own Legendary Pictures – has climbed into the top 20, according to the magazine.  SFM

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