Rich List: Consumers in Philippines enrich tycoons

More affluent consumers are enriching tycoons whose businesses are adapting to changing trends and spending behaviour.
Henry Sy
Henry Sy

The Philippines economy sustained its powerful momentum last year, growing at 6.1%, helped by strong government spending, private consumption, investment, and exports. In particular, more affluent consumers are enriching tycoons whose businesses are adapting to changing trends and spending behaviour.

Henry Sy, ranked 41 on FinanceAsia's 2015 Rich List, again earned more dividend income than his rival tycoons. His two publicly traded conglomerates, SM Investments and SM Prime Holdings, posted record profits from their retail and banking activities. Sy intends to expand several of his mall properties into minitowns over the next five years, capturing customers for his retail outlets. However, his family’s holdings in BDO Unibank still provide most of SM Investment’s income.

Sy’s eldest daughter Teresita Sy-Coson chairs the bank as well as taking a major role in planning the development of the retail business. She is widely expected to succeed Henry as the group’s leader.

Andrew Tan (98), whose Alliance Global owns them McDonald’s franchise in the Philippines, was also rewarded by rising consumer spending. He has wide interests in the food and beverage industry as well as in gaming and hospitality. Jon Ramon Aboitiz’s (46) wealth has been boosted by the Philippine government’s commitment to improve the country’s infrastructure. His Aboitiz Equity Ventures is a leading conglomerate but revenues have been boosted by its increased participation in the power industry.

David Consunji’s (66) DMCI Holdings has also garnered revenues from infrastructure construction and power generation.

Examining dividend income to determine rich list

FinanceAsia analyses the publicly listed assets of Asia (ex-Japan)’s leading business families and aggregates the dividends paid to them through their shareholdings or to their trusts or charitable foundations.

This methodology provides a more dynamic picture of wealth in the region than can be achieved by estimates of net worth, but clearly underestimates the fortunes of individuals and families whose wealth is mainly derived from non-income earning or wholly private assets. We identify a large universe of companies with large or controlling shareholders and gather information on ownership stakes and dividend payouts based on statements made to stock exchanges, newswires and, in the first instance, declarations made in annual reports.

Some holdings are opaque because of complex cross-shareholding structures such as the Lee family’s control of
Samsung and the Keswick’s control of Jardine Matheson, so there are inevitable instances of under-reporting of some tycoon’s wealth.

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