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Pandemic Reduces Philippines Rich's Wealth
Tycoons on 2020 Forbes Philippines Rich List
Tycoons on 2020 Forbes Philippines Rich List
SINGAPORE (Sept. 17, 2020) – Tycoons on the 2020 Forbes Philippines Rich List saw their collective wealth fall 22% to US$60.6 billion as the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the country’s economy. The complete list can be found at and in the September issue of Forbes Asia.

Despite having one of the world’s strictest lockdowns, the Philippines saw its Covid-19 cases surpass 250,000 in September, the highest number in Southeast Asia. The country’s benchmark stock index, the PSEi, reflected the economic challenges the pandemic poses, falling 26% since fortunes were measured a year ago.

A total of 32 listees saw their net worths decline. The Sy siblings took the biggest hit in dollar terms but remain at No. 1 with $13.9 billion. Their fortune was down by $3.3 billion amid a contracting economy and soaring unemployment. Property tycoon Manuel Villar held on to his rank as the country’s second richest, even as his wealth fell $1.6 billion to $5 billion. Enrique Razon Jr. moves one spot up to No. 3 this year with a net worth of $4.3 billion, down from $5.1 billion previously.

Banking fortunes were especially hard hit. The Ty siblings (No. 12, $1.4 billion) of GT Capital and Metrobank saw their fortunes fall 46%, while Frederick Dy (No. 37) was down more than 46% to $190 million as shares in his Security Bank fell 52% over the past year.

Fast food billionaire Tony Tan Caktiong (No. 9, $1.9 billion) suffered a pandemic-induced blow to his wealth this year. While nearly 90% of his Jollibee eateries had reopened by the end of June, most were limited to delivery and takeout. The lack of dine-in services cut sales by nearly half and sent his company’s shares down more than 40%, reducing Tan Caktiong’s net worth by 37%.

Oscar Lopez (No. 32), who holds a majority stake in TV network ABS-CBN, saw his net worth nearly halve to $240 million after Philippine lawmakers in July rejected the company’s bid to renew its 25-year broadcast license; its shares have lost close to 65% of their value over the past year.

Among the 10 listees whose fortunes rose, Edgar Sia II (No. 21) was this year’s biggest gainer in both percentage and dollar terms. He added $300 million, or 75% to his net worth, which is now $700 million. The rise was partly due to the successful IPO of his MerryMart in June as shares of the grocer have nearly doubled since the listing as quarantine measures boosted sales.

The two newcomers on the list include Lance Gokongwei and his siblings, who debuted at No. 4 with a net worth of $4.1 billion. They replace their father John Gokongwei Jr., who passed away in November 2019. Gokongwei shares this fortune with his five sisters Faith, Hope, Lisa, Marcia and Robina.

The estate of San Miguel’s Eduardo Cojuangco, who passed away in June, was inherited by his wife, Soledad Oppen-Cojuangco, who ranks No. 16 with a net worth of $1.15 billion. She shares the fortune with their four children Carlos, Luisa, Margarita and Mark.

Six names dropped off the list, including Edgar Saavedra of Megawide Construction. Megawide’s shares fell by more than 65% after reporting a first-half net loss of 398 million pesos ($8 million). Megawide’s cofounder Michael Cosiquien, however, stayed on the list as most of his wealth is tied to an earlier sale of the company’s shares. Cosiquien ranks No. 40 with a net worth of $175 million.

Four tycoons returned to the ranks, largely due to this year’s lower cutoff, which fell 23% from last year’s list to $100 million. They are Michael Romero (No. 46, $135 million) of Globalport 900; Luis Virata (No. 48, $115 million) of Nickel Asia, Mikel Aboitiz (No. 49, $110 million) of Aboitiz Equity Ventures and Lourdes Montinola (No. 50, $100 million) of Far Eastern University.

The top 10 richest in the Philippines are:

1) Sy siblings; US$13.9 billion
2) Manuel Villar; $5 billion
3) Enrique Razon Jr.; $4.3 billion
4) Lance Gokongwei & siblings; $4.1 billion
5) Jaime Zobel de Ayala; $3.6 billion
6) Andrew Tan; $2.3 billion
7) Lucio Tan; $2.2 billion
8) Ramon Ang; $2 billion
9) Tony Tan Caktiong; $1.9 billion
10) Lucio & Susan Co; $1.7 billion

The list was compiled using information from the individuals, stock exchanges, analysts, private databases, government agencies and other sources. Net worths were based on stock prices and exchange rates as of the close of markets on August 28, 2020. Private companies were valued by using financial ratios and other comparisons with similar publicly traded companies. Since 2017, the list no longer includes families in which the founder of the business has died, unless the successors are wealthy enough to make the cutoff individually; in these cases, inherited fortunes are combined.

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