By Krista A. M. Montealegre
HENRY SY, Sr., the founder of the SM Group of Companies, was named the Philippines’ richest man for the 10th straight year, leading 11 other Filipinos in the world’s billionaires’ club, according to an annual ranking published by Forbes magazine.
Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos claimed the No. 1 spot for the first time with a fortune of $112 billion, becoming the first person to top the $100-billion mark on the The World’s Billionaires list. He overtook Microsoft Co-Founder Bill Gates, who settled at No. 2 with a net worth of $90 billion.
Twelve Filipinos — fewer than last year’s 14 — made it to the 32nd edition of the ranking, with Mr. Sy, the 93-year-old chairman emeritus of SM Investments Corp., placing 52nd globally and becoming the lone Filipino to make the top 100 of the elite billionaires’ circle. His net worth increased to $20 billion from $12.7 billion last year when he held the No. 94 slot.
Founded in 1960, SM Investments has become the largest retailer in the Philippines, with interests in the banking and property sectors.
“He started out by learning the ropes of retail beside his father in the family’s convenience store. After saving enough money, he went out on his own and started his first business with a footwear shop,” Forbes noted in profile posted on its Web site.
JG Summit Holdings, Inc. Chairman Emeritus John L. Gokongwei, Jr., 91, remained the country’s second-wealthiest billionaire, but fell to 305th place globally from 250th even as his net worth steadied at $5.8 billion.
International Container Terminal Services, Inc. Chairman Enrique K. Razon, Jr., 58, sustained his climb to hold the 404th spot from 564th following an increase in his net worth to $4.9 billion from $3.4 billion.
LT Group, Inc. Chairman Lucio C. Tan, 83, bounced back to secure the 441st position from 501st after his fortune grew to $4.7 billion from $3.7 billion.
Jollibee Foods Corp. Chairman Tony Tan Caktiong, 65, improved his ranking to 550th place from 690th. The self-made billionaire behind fastest-growing Asian restaurant chain Jollibee was worth $4 billion, up from $3.4 billion in 2017.
GT Capital Holdings, Inc. Chairman George S.K. Ty, saw his ranking go up to 572nd slot from 544th. The 85-year-old grew his wealth to $3.9 billion from $3.5 billion last year.
Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc. Chairman Manuel B. Villar, Jr., 68, leapt to 791st place in the ranking from 1,376th after doubling his fortune to $3 billion from $1.5 billion.
Alliance Global Group, Inc. Chairman Andrew L. Tan retreated further in the ranking. The 65-year-old fell to the 887th position from 814th even as his net worth went up to $2.7 billion from $2.5 billion.
San Miguel Corp. President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang sustained his ascent in the ranking, rising to 965th spot from 1,468th. The 64-year-old self-made billionaire increased his wealth to $2.5 billion from $1.4 billion.
Businessman Robert G. Coyiuto, Jr. ranked lower at 1,650th place with a fortune of $1.4 billion. The 65-year-old, who chairs Prudential Guarantee & Assurance and owns a 30% stake in National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, previously was at 1,376th with $1.5 billion.
San Miguel Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr. ranked next, placing 1,756th globally. At 82 years old, the businessman wealth was estimated at some $1.3 billion.
Businessman Roberto V. Ongpin kept his place in the billionaire’s club with a $1.1-billion wealth. The 81-year-old chairman of Alphaland Corp. ranked 1,999th, down from 1,795th in the global roster.
Dropping out of the Forbes wealthiest list were Mang Inasal founder and DoubleDragon Properties Corp. Chairman Edgar J. Sia II and DMCI Holdings, Inc. Founder David M. Consunji, who passed away last year.
The Forbes ranking marked a record 2,208 billionaires from 72 countries and territories including the first ever from Hungary and Zimbabwe. Together, they are worth $9.1 trillion, up 18% since last year when the magazine covered 2,043 billionaires.