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Philippines’ 50 Richest 2023 List: Economy Sustains 6.4% Growth Amidst Inflation And Market Resilience

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(CTN NEWS) – The Philippine economy achieved a growth of 6.4% in the initial quarter of 2023, maintaining a streak of two years of uninterrupted expansion following its rebound from the pandemic.

While grappling with inflation and elevated interest rates, the nation’s key stock index surged by 6% compared to the previous year’s measurement, reflecting a significant upswing from that period.

Consequently, the collective prosperity of the country’s top 50 wealthiest individuals escalated to $80 billion, a notable increase from the $72 billion recorded in the previous year.


Philippine Wealth Growth Amongst Top Entrants: Sy Siblings, Villar, Razon, and Ang Lead the Way

A significant majority of individuals on the roster have witnessed an increase in their wealth this year, led by the top trio.

The Sy siblings, who inherit the legacy of the late Henry Sy Sr., have maintained their dominant position at No. 1, augmenting their net worth by $1.8 billion, resulting in a total of $14.4 billion.

The value of shares in their flagship conglomerate, SM Investments, surged by 19% compared to the previous year, benefiting from a resurgence in consumer spending post-pandemic.

Securing the second spot is property magnate Manuel Villar, whose fortune swelled by $1.9 billion to reach $9.7 billion, bolstered by a resilient housing market. In December 2022, Villar also successfully listed his power venture, Premiere Island Power REIT.

Enrique Razon Jr., a stalwart in the ports industry, emerged as the most substantial gainer in terms of dollar value.

His adept management of supply chains propelled a noteworthy 24% surge in the shares of International Container Terminal Services from the preceding year. Razon maintained his No. 3 ranking, augmenting his wealth by an impressive $2.5 billion to a total of $8.1 billion.

Another notable ascent was made by Ramon Ang, President and CEO of the publicly-listed conglomerate San Miguel Corp. He ascended five positions to secure the No. 4 spot.

Ang’s wealth experienced an impressive upswing of almost 40%, reaching $3.4 billion. This surge was attributed to San Miguel’s acquisition of the majority-owned Eagle Cement, a significant player in the Philippines’ cement industry.


Market Challenges Impact Wealthiest Individuals: Delays, Preferences, and Declines

Even the wealthiest individuals in the nation were not immune to the challenges posed by market fluctuations.

The SM Prime, owned by the Sy family, opted to postpone its planned $1 billion initial public offering for its shopping mall REIT, which was originally slated for the previous year.

Similarly, the IPO for Prime Infrastructure Capital, under the control of Razon, faced delays due to investors displaying a preference for fixed income securities amidst the backdrop of rising interest rates.

Experiencing the most substantial decline in both monetary and percentage terms were Dennis Anthony and Maria Grace Uy, a married couple and co-founders of Converge ICT Solutions.

Their net worth dwindled by nearly half, reaching $930 million, largely due to the downward trajectory of shares in their broadband services company. This slide was attributed to the departure of private equity firm Warburg Pincus in the previous year.


Inheriting Wealth: New Entrants and Omissions on the Wealth List

The trio of fresh additions to the list are all beneficiaries of inheritance.

The Gotianun family, positioned at the 22nd spot with a wealth of $850 million, has inherited interests in the conglomerate Filinvest Development from their late matriarch, Mercedes Gotianun, who passed away in December.

The Yuchengco family, successors to Alfonso Yuchengco and the principal shareholders of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., one of the country’s major financial institutions, have also entered the roster with a combined fortune of $420 million.

Federico Lopez makes his debut on the list with a shared wealth of $300 million alongside his family.

He assumed control of the media, real estate, and power empire previously overseen by his father, Oscar, who passed away at the age of 93 in April.

Regrettably, Roberto Ongpin, the former chairman of the upscale property developer Alphaland, and possessing a net worth of $830 million in the preceding year, passed away in February at the age of 86.

However, his wealth does not feature on the list due to insufficient information regarding the distribution of his estate. The threshold for inclusion this year was set at $180 million, slightly lower than the $185 million benchmark in 2022.


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Alishba Waris is an independent journalist working for CTN News. She brings a wealth of experience and a keen eye for detail to her reporting. With a knack for uncovering the truth, Waris isn't afraid to ask tough questions and hold those in power accountable. Her writing is clear, concise, and cuts through the noise, delivering the facts readers need to stay informed. Waris's dedication to ethical journalism shines through in her hard-hitting yet fair coverage of important issues.

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