The 40 richest people in the Philippines saw their wealth grow over $13 billion to $47.4 billion this year, thanks to a booming remittance-driven economy that outperformed most of the country’s neighbours, according to the latest issue of Forbes Asia.
The increase in wealth produced 15 billionaires, up from 11 a year ago – a result of an ongoing consumer boom, a surge in tourism and outsourcing, a stock market that gained 17 percent in the past year, and economic growth of 6.4 percent in the last quarter, the magazine said.
Henry Sy, 87, remains the richest person in the Philippines with a net worth of $9.1 billion, up $1.9 billion from a year ago, according to Forbes.
But the most impressive was Enrique Razon Jr., this year’s biggest gainer, as the 52-year old tycoon saw his wealth surge by $2 billion to $3.6 billion, catapulting him four ranks higher to become the country’s third richest person.
Razon became a billionaire last year with $1.6 billion in net worth and made his first fortune in ports, taking over the family business, International Container Terminal Services (ICTS), at age 27.
He turned ICTS into one of the largest port operators in Asia, before expanding into Europe, North America and the Middle East.
Forbes said that much of Razon’s jump in wealth this year was from his stake in Bloomberry Resorts, which had a public offering this May. Bloomberry plans to open a resort casino on Manila Bay in 2013 that Razon hopes will position the country as a gaming destination alongside Macau and Singapore.
Henry Sy retains the top spot on the list, with control of the country’s biggest retail group, which includes SM prime, the Philippines’ largest mall developer, with 42 malls.
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