Forbes released the world's top billionaires, and 11 of them are Filipinos. Reported in BusinessWorld yesterday:
1. Henry Sy -- the lone Filipino to crash Forbes’ top 100 richest -- placed 71st in the global rankings, up from 73rd last year, but his net worth dropped to $12.9 billion from $14.2 billion. His SM group owns SM Prime Holdings, Inc., BDO Unibank, Inc. and SM Retail, Inc., all dominant players in their respective industries.
2. John L. Gokongwei, Jr. Second at 270th place globally -- down from 254th last year -- is., chairman emeritus of JG Summit Holdings, Inc., whose businesses include the country’s biggest low-cost airline Cebu Pacific, Universal Robina Corp., Robinsons Land Corp. and Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc. The wealth of Mr. Gokongwei, 88, slid to $5 billion from $5.8 billion.
3. Lucio C. Tan of LT Group, Inc. slipped to 380th from 369th, but he surpassed two others who placed ahead of him last year. His net worth declined to $4 billion from $4.4 billion. He has interests in PMFTC, Inc.; Asia Brewery, Inc.; Tanduay Distillers, Inc.; Philippine National Bank, Eton Properties Philippines, Inc. And PAL.
4. George S.K. Ty of GT Capital Holdings, Inc. slid to 421st from 369th, as his net worth fell to $3.7 billion from $4.4 billion. His businesses span the power, banking, property and automotive sectors.
5-7. Tied at 569th place are David M. Consunji of DMCI Holdings, Inc.; Andrew L. Tan, Jr., chairman of Alliance Global Group, Inc. and Tony Tan Caktiong of Jollibee Foods Corp.
Last year, Mr. Consunji ranked 405th, Mr. Tan placed 330th and Mr. Tan Caktiong ranked 690th.
Mr. Consunji saw has family’s net worth drop to $3 billion this year from $4.1 billion in 2015. DMCI has interests in power generation, mining, water distribution and real estate.
The wealth of Mr. Andrew Tan similarly went down to $3 billion from $4.8 billion last year. Mr. Tan is the man behind Emperador Distillers, Inc.; Megaworld Corp.; Travellers International Hotel Group, Inc. and Golden Arches Development Corp.
Mr. Tan Caktiong was the only Filipino billionaire who saw an increase in fortune to $3 billion from $2.7 billion in 2015. Dubbed by Forbes as the “fastest-growing Asian restaurant chain in the world,” Jollibee Foods forayed into the mainstream burger market with the purchase of a 40% stake in American food chain Smashburger in October last year.
Other Filipinos in the world’s billionaires circle were:
• Enrique K. Razon, Jr. of International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI) with net worth of $2.4 billion from $5.2 billion, placing him 722nd from 291st;
• Lucio and Susan Co of Puregold Price Club, Inc. with $1.6 billion from $2.3 billion, placing 1,121st from 810th;
• Robert G. Coyiuto, Jr. of National Grid Corp. of the Philippines and PGA Automobile, Inc. with $1.6 billion from $1.8 billion, 1,121st from 1,054th;
• Manuel B. Villar, Jr. of Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc. with $1.3 billion from $1.6 billion, placing him 1,367th from 1,190th in 2015.
Also, 27-year-old Filipino-American Bobby Murphy, co-founder of photo and video messaging app Snapchat, was the sixth youngest billionaire with a $1.8-billion net worth.
I anticipate the complaints and whining of the left-leaning groups and individuals, that Mr. Sy and family can accumulate almost $13 billion which is 5% of GDP, from one family alone. Of course, the result is bad because their math is bad. Mr. Sy and family accumulated that amount after 30 or 40+ years of hard work, savings, investments and re-investments, while the denominator, GDP, is the figure for only one year.
Not that I'm a fan of any or all of these 11 super-rich people and families in the Philippines, but I think this country will be worse off if any or all of them did not exist and did not invest big time in the PH. What makes an economy become dynamic and prosper is through the effort and risk-taking by the private entrepreneurs, not government over-taxation and business bureaucratism. Now if government will shift its attention by over-regulating and over-bureaucratizing the real criminals in the country -- those thieves, carnappers, land grabbers, murderers, rapists, plunderers, etc. -- it will significantly make the small and medium entrepreneurs move forward fast.
Meanwhile, Mr. Ayala is not in the billionaire's club anymore?
Inequality 27, ADR Institute forum on poverty and growth, August 18, 2015
Inequality 28, IBON and sensational analysis, November 19, 2015
BWorld 42, World inequality, Oxfam and bad mathematics, February 11, 2016