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Wealth of 50 Filipinos account for 24% of PH’s 2016 GDP

August 29, 2017 ·  By Chrisee Dela Paz and Chris Schnabel for


(4th UPDATE) Henry Sy Sr tops Forbes’ Philippines rich list in 2017 for a decade now, but younger and self-made tycoons are gaining ground

STILL RICHEST. The 2017 list shows that Henry Sy's net worth surged to $18 billion, up from $13.7 billion in 2016, and even triple that of the 2nd placer,€“ John Gokongwei Jr ($5.5 billion). Rappler infographics

STILL RICHEST. The 2017 list shows that Henry Sy’s net worth surged to $18 billion, up from $13.7 billion in 2016, and even triple that of the 2nd placer,€“ John Gokongwei Jr ($5.5 billion). Rappler infographics

MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) – No other man benefits more from the country’s brisk economic growth than Henry Sy Sr, whose fortune ballooned to a high of $18 billion, making him the Philippines’ richest man for the 10th consecutive year.
Overall, the cumulative net worth of tycoons in Forbes Asia’s 2017 list of 50 richest Filipinos decreased by 7% to $73.9 billion, from 2016’s $79.5 billion. This is equivalent to 24.24% of the country’s gross domestic product of $304.9 billion in 2016. (READ: Doing business under Duterte? Philippines’ richest family shows how)

Forbes Asia on Thursday, August 24, released its 2017 list of the Philippines’ 50 Richest. The list showed that Sy’s net worth surged to $18 billion, up from $13.7 billion in 2016.

Even without the benefits of an election year, SM Investments Corporation sustained growth across its core property, banking, and retail businesses. The SM group, the Sy family’s business empire, saw its net income grow to P16.6 billion in the 1st 6 months of 2017.

Rappler infographics

Rappler infographics

Sy’s net worth is 3 times of the 2nd placer’s, John Gokongwei Jr, $5.5 billion. Gokongwei’s net worth fell from 2016’s $6.8 billion.

Runners up: Gokongwei, Razon, Tan

JG Summit Holdings Incorporated, the Gokongwei’s group’s holding firm, saw net profit stay flat in the first half of 2017 at P15.95 billion, with its
petrochemicals division standing out by growing revenues by 50%. Under Gokongwei’s holding firm is Cebu Pacific Air, Robinsons Mall, and Robinsons Land.

Rappler infographics

Rappler infographics

Meanwhile, owing to Bloomberry Resorts Corporation, owner and operator of Solaire Resort and Casino, Enrique Razon Jr bagged the 3rd spot, with a net worth of $4.3 billion, from 2016’s $3.5 billion.

All-time high gaming revenues of Bloomberry here and abroad pulled the gaming firm’s net income by 24-fold to P4.1 billion in the 1st half of the year. (READ: All-time high gaming boosts Bloomberry’s income 24-fold)

International Container Terminal Services Incorporated (ICTSI), the port operator of Razon, recorded a 24% surge in net income to $115.1 million in the 1st half of 2017, fueled by strong performance from overseas terminals and a one-time gain on the termination of its sub-concession agreement in Nigeria.


Meanwhile, LT Group founder Lucio Tan maintained his 4th position in 2017, although his estimated net worth fell from $4.9 billion last year to $4.2 billion this year.

Tan’s LT Group is heavily involved in tobacco and alcohol which are under threat from higher sin taxes, while his airline, Philippine Airlines, is expected to announce a strategic partnership with a foreign airline in the coming months.


Zobel de Ayala family patriarch and Ayala Corporation chairman emeritus Jaime Zobel de Ayala gained two places to land at 5th richest this year, with an estimated net worth of $3.7 billion.
Ayala Corporation has been on an investment spree this year, notably getting into e-commerce through Zalora, acquiring a British manufacturing firm, and betting on setting up its own infrastructure projects.

Gainers, losers

According to Forbes Asia, 7 of the 10 biggest dollar gainers in the list “have sizable interests in construction and property development,” banking on President Rodrigo Duterte’s ambitious infrastructure program Build, Build, Build.

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