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Manny Villar wealthiest among Filipinos in Forbes’ Billionaires List 2023

Fourteen Filipinos were included in the Forbes’ Billionaires 2023 list, which was again led by real estate tycoon Manuel "Manny" Villar Jr. who saw his wealth grow to $8.6 billion.

The 73-year-old businessman was the 232nd richest in the world in the global list topped by luxury goods tycoon Bernard Arnault with a $211-billion net worth.

Forbes estimated Villar’s real-time net worth at $9 billion as of April 4, 2023, making him the 215th richest person in the world.

The publication cited Villar’s stake in Golden MV Holdings as his biggest asset, as it develops mass housing projects and memorial parks. He also chairs Vista Land & Lifescapes, which listed its real estate investment trust (REIT) on the Philippine Stock Exchange in June 2022.

Villar’s wife Cynthia and son Mark are current senators, while his daughter Camille currently serves as a member of the Philippine Congress representing Las Piñas City.

This is the fifth straight year that Villar was the wealthiest among the Filipinos on the list, after the passing of SM Group’s Henry Sy Sr. in 2019.

Villar was followed by International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) chair Enrique Razon Jr. with a $7.3-billion net worth, making him the 312th richest person in the world.

He expanded the business overseas, after being started by his grandfather in 1916, and rebuilt by his father after World War II.

The third richest Filipino was San Miguel Corp.’s (SMC) chairman and president Ramon Ang with a $3.4-billion net worth. He was listed as the 852nd richest across the globe.

SM Investments Corp. (SMIC) co-vice-chairman Henry Sy, Jr. followed as he was ranked 1,217th richest with a $2.5-billion net worth.  He also serves as chairman of SM Prime Holdings, which operates the group’s property arm.

Alliance Global Inc.’s (AGI) chair Andrew Tan was also listed as the world’s 1,217th richest with a $2.5-billion net worth, with his firm having interests in food, beverage, gaming, and real estate.

Also listed were Hans Sy and his brother Herbert Sy who both ranked 1,272nd with $2.4 billion each, along with tobacco and property magnate Lucio Tan who was ranked the same with $2.4 billion.

They were followed by siblings Harley Sy and Teresita Sy-Coson at 1,368th with $2.2 billion each. Both currently serve as executives of the SM Group their father started. Their sister Elizabeth Sy was ranked 1,575th with $1.9 billion.

Lance Gokongwei, the only son of the late John Gokongwei Jr., came in at 2,020th with $1.4 billion. He is currently the president and chief executive officer of JG Summit Holdings Inc., which has interests in food, real estate and hospitality, air transportation, banking, and petrochemicals.

Jollibee Foods Corp. (JFC) chairman and founder Tony Tan Caktiong was ranked 2,259th with $1.2 billion. The group’s brands include Chowking, Greenwich, Red Ribbon, Mang Inasal, Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts, and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, among others.

Iñigo Zobel returned to the list with a $1-billion net worth, making him the 2,540th richest globally. A cousin of the Zobel patriarch Jaime Zobel de Ayala, most of his fortune is from a stake in San Miguel where he sits on the board.

The global list was topped by LVMH chairman and chief executive Bernard Arnault with $211 billion, Elon Musk with $180 billion, Jeff Bezos with $114 billion, Larry Ellison with $107 billion, and Warren Buffett with $106 billion.

The net worths were calculated based on the stock prices and exchange rates from March 10, 2023.

“It’s been another rare down year for the planet’s richest people,” Forbes senior editor Chase Peterson-Withorn said in a separate emailed statement.

“Nearly half the list is poorer than they were 12 months ago, but a lucky few are billions — or even tens of billions — of dollars richer,” he added. —KG, GMA Integrated News