This story is part of Forbes’ coverage of Philippines’ Richest 2022. See the full list here.
The Philippines’ economy grew 8.3% in the first quarter of 2022, as domestic demand started recovering from pandemic headwinds. Newly elected president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., son of the former dictator, who was ousted in 1986, pledged to keep up the growth momentum. Nonetheless the pressures of inflation, rising commodity and energy prices as well as reduced exports to China dragged the benchmark stock index down 6% from 11 months ago when fortunes were last measured. The peso also plunged 12% over the same period. As a result, the combined wealth of the country’s 50 richest dropped to $72 billion from $79 billion last year.
More than two-thirds of the listees saw their wealth shrink. The Sy siblings, heirs to the group built by the late Henry Sy Sr., retained the top spot but their net worth fell by $4 billion to $12.6 billion, which was the biggest drop in dollar terms. Shares in the family’s flagship, SM Investments, slipped 19% from last year as investors turned skittish.
Overcoming the odds, property billionaire Manuel Villar listed his VistaREIT in June and is this year’s biggest dollar gainer. Villar, who’s revving up the development of high-rise condos, townships and a casino, added $1.1 billion and retained the No. 2 spot with a fortune of $7.8 billion. Ports tycoon Enrique Razon Jr. remained at No. 3 though his net worth was down slightly to $5.6 billion. Razon is doubling down on casinos and renewable energy with plans to build the world’s largest solar farm in the archipelago for $3 billion.
Another notable drop in wealth was that of husband and wife Dennis Anthony and Maria Grace Uy, cofounders of Converge ICT Solutions. Their wealth decreased by just over $1 billion to $1.75 billion as shares in the broadband services provider slid after the company announced in May that Warburg Pincus was selling a chunk of its holding.
Among the two returnees this year is the Aboitiz family, appearing at No. 5 with a collective fortune of $2.9 billion, which includes holdings of the broader family. Shares in their flagship Aboitiz Equity Ventures got a boost from its power interests amid rising energy prices. Record first-quarter earnings of $200 million at engineering conglomerate DMCI Holdings, lifted the fortune of Isidro Consunji and siblings by 47% to $2.65 billion. They notched up the biggest percentage rise this year and moved up seven spots to No. 6.
Two new entrants replace their late family members: The Po family, who inherited the food empire of Ricardo Po Sr. after his death last October, is at No. 16 with $1.2 billion. Sylvia C. Wenceslao took over as chairman of real estate developer D.M. Wenceslao & Associates, following her husband Delfin J. Wenceslao Jr.’s death last September. The cutoff for the list was $185 million, down from $200 million in 2021.
Full Coverage of Philippines’ Richest 2022:
With reporting by Jonathan Burgos, Gloria Haraito, Anuradha Raghunathan, Anis Shakirah Mohd Muslimin and Yue Wang
This list was compiled using shareholding and financial information obtained from the families and individuals, stock exchanges, annual reports and analysts. The ranking lists both individual and family fortunes, including those shared among relatives. Private companies were valued based on similar companies that are publicly traded. Net worths were based on stock prices and exchange rates as of the close of markets on May 13, 2022. The list can also include foreign citizens with business, residential or other ties to the country, or citizens who don’t reside in the country but have significant business or other ties to the country. The editors reserve the right to amend any information or remove any listees in light of new information.