Pandemic erodes wealth of richest Filipinos, but Sy family stays on top – Forbes

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 17) — The country's billionaires were not spared from the impact of the pandemic, with fortunes slashed after months of lockdown, according to Forbes' latest list of richest Filipinos.

Despite a general slide in net worth, heirs of the late taipan Henry Sy, Sr. – namely Teresita, Elizabeth, Henry Jr., Hans, Herbert and Harley of the SM Group – remained on top with a combined wealth of $13.9 billion or ₱670 billion. This declined from their combined value of $17.2 billion in 2019, which the global magazine attributed to a "contracting economy and soaring unemployment."

Luzon, the country's biggest economic hub, went under lockdown from mid-March to May as a COVID-19 outbreak was confirmed in Metro Manila. Strict quarantine rules remain in place, limiting movement and stifling sales, income and economic activity.

READ: Pandemic may keep more Filipinos poor, jobless until next year – NEDA

Former senator and property giant Manny Villar, 70, retained the second spot with $5 billion (about ₱250 billion) to his name, down from last year's $6.6 billion.

Ports giant Enrique Razon, Jr., who most recently ventured into the power business in Iloilo, climbed to the third spot with a $4.3 billion fortune, down from his $5.1 billion in 2019. He switched places with the heirs of the late John Gokongwei, Jr., who came in fourth with a combined wealth of $4.1 billion.

RELATED: Businessman Enrique Razon buys into embattled Manila Water

The late Gokongwei passed away at 93 in November last year, leaving his estate to son Lance and five daughters Faith, Hope, Lisa, Marcia and Robina.

All members of the top 10 saw their fortunes decline, reeling from the recession. Among those who suffered big drops were Philippine Airlines owner Lucio Tan (down $1.4 billion) and Jollibee Group founder Tony Tan Caktiong (down $1.1 billion).

Biggest 'losers'

Forbes said heirs of the late tycoon George S.K. Ty suffered the biggest drop in value, as their collective wealth plunged by 46 percent to $1.4 billion. Last year, the Ty siblings were the ninth richest with $2.6 billion.

Meanwhile, Oscar Lopez also saw his wealth drop to $240 million following the ill fate of ABS-CBN in securing a fresh legislative franchise. Shares at the network have plunged by 65 percent, Forbes said.

READ: ABS-CBN to lay off workers effective August 31

Banker Frederick Dy, now at the 37th spot, also saw his riches nearly halved to $190 million as shares in Security Bank collapsed by 52 percent the past year.

Among those who fell from the top 50 were Megawide Construction founder Edgar Saavedra after the contractor saw a first-half net loss.

2020 gainers

There were 10 businessmen who managed to make more despite the global health crisis.

Leading this group is Edgar "Injap" Sia II who owns property firm DoubleDragon. Forbes credited the $300 million (about ₱14 billion) increase in his net worth to MerryMart, a new grocery chain which has been the lone company to have an initial public offering so far this year.

Another gainer is Vivian Que Azcona, president of pharmacy chain Mercury Drug, and her sibling, likely seeing increased sales as people spent more on health needs.

Meanwhile, Soledad Oppen-Cojuangco took the spot of her late husband, San Miguel Corporation chairman Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco, Jr., on the richest list, inheriting $1.15 billion.

New entrants to the 50 richest list were ports tycoon 1-Pacman Party-List Rep. Michael Romero ($135 million), Nickel Asia's Luis Virata ($115 million), Mikel Aboitiz of Aboitiz Equity Ventures ($110 million), and Far Eastern University chairman emeritus Lourdes Montinola ($100 million).

See the full list here:

1. Sy siblings ($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 and Susan Co ($1.7 billion)

11. Mercedes Gotianun ($1.5 billion)

12. Ty siblings ($1.4 billion)

13. Vivian Que Azcona and siblings ($1.34 billion)

14. Isidro Consunji and siblings ($1.3 billion)

15. Roberto Ongpin ($1.2 billion)

16. Soledad Oppen-Cojuangco ($1.15 billion)

17. Ricardo Po, Sr. ($1 billion)

18. Inigo Zobel ($990 million)

19. William Belo ($900 million)

20. Roberto Coyiuto, Jr. ($890 million)

21. Edgar Sia II ($700 million)

22. Dennis Uy ($650 million)

23. Campos siblings ($600 million)

24. Dean Lao ($500 million)

25. Jacinto Ng ($490 million)

26. Mariano Tan, Jr. ($350 million)

27. Delfin Wenceslao, Jr. ($340 million)

28. Tomas Alcantara ($300 million)

29. Manuel Zamora ($280 million)

30. Carlos Chan ($260 million)

31. Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, Jr. ($250 million)

32. Oscar Lopez ($240 million)

33. P.J. Lhuillier ($230 million)

34. Jorge Araneta ($220 million)

35. Alfredo Yao ($210 million)

36. Eusebio Tanco ($200 million)

37. Frederick Dy ($190 million)

38. Betty Ang ($185 million)

39. Jose Antonio ($180 million)

40. Michael Cosiquien ($175 million)

41. Jose Ma Concepcion ($174 million)

42. Felipe Gozon ($170 million)

43. Juliette Romualdez ($160 million)

44. Erramon Aboitiz ($150 million)

45. Philip Ang ($140 million)

46. Michael Romero ($135 million)

47. Menardo Jimenez ($125 million)

48. Luis Virata ($115 million)

49. Mikel Aboitiz ($110 million)

50. Lourdes Montinola ($100 million)