Philippines' tycoons get wealthier in 2021, Converge ICT's Dennis Uy joins Forbes richest list

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 9) — The country's billionaires have already recovered from pandemic losses, with the heirs of the late taipan Henry Sy, Sr. still leading the pack with a collective net worth of $16.6 billion.

Based on the 2021 Forbes' list of the Philippines' 50 richest, the billionaires realized "a robust recovery" as their combined wealth jumped by 30% to $79 billion.

"Despite the ravages of COVID-19, the economy notched up double-digit growth in this year’s second quarter. Investor sentiment remained buoyant, fuelling a 13% rise in the benchmark stock index from a year ago," it said in a statement Thursday.

"The wealth of more than half the list members was up this year with four listees adding over $1 billion each," Forbes added.

The Sy siblings, namely Teresita, Elizabeth, Henry Jr., Hans, Herbert and Harley of the SM Group, gained $2.7 billion, securing the top spot anew with $16.6 billion.

Former senator and property giant Manuel Villar held on to his second spot as his net worth rose by $1.7 to $6.7 billion. Ports giant Enrique Razon, Jr. came third with a $5.8 billion fortune.

The top 10 richest in the Philippines are:

1. Sy siblings ($16.6 billion)

2. Manuel Villar ($6.7 billion)

3. Enrique Razon, Jr. ($5.8 billion)

4. Lance Gokongwei and siblings ($4 billion)

5. Jaime Zobel de Ayala ($3.3 billion)

6. Dennis Anthony and Maria Grace Uy ($2.8 billion)

7. Tony Tan Caktiong ($2.7 billion)

8. Andrew Tan ($2.6 billion)

9. Ramon Ang ($2.3 billion)

10. Ty siblings ($2.2 billion)

For the first time, Dennis Anthony Uy of fiber internet provider Converge ICT joined the list after the company went public and gained from the strong demand for connectivity amid the pandemic.

Forbes also said Betty Ang, co-founder and president of Monde Nissin, was considered as 2021's biggest percentage gainer. Ang climbed 20 spots to rank 18 after her wealth surged to $1.7 billion following the group's market debut.

The IPO produced three newcomers: Monde Nissin chairman Hartono Kweefanus (No. 11, $1.95 billion); the company’s CEO Henry Soesanto (No. 25, $795 million); and brothers Keng Sun and Peter Mar (No. 35, $410 million), heirs to a biscuit business that was sold by their family to Monde Nissin.

Tycoon Lucio Tan, whose empire covers liquor and airline, saw his wealth decline to $1.9 billion. Tan-led Philippine Airlines recently filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States.