Despite one of the world’s strictest lockdowns—an 80-day quarantine imposed in March for Metro Manila and elsewhere in the Philippines—Covid-19 cases nationwide surpassed 250,000 in September, Southeast Asia’s highest number of cases. The country’s benchmark stock index, the PSEi, reflected the economic challenges the pandemic poses, falling 26% since fortunes were measured a year ago. The collective wealth of the Philippines’ 50 Richest dropped to $60.6 billion from $78 billion a year earlier.

A total of 32 listees saw their net worths decline. The Sy siblings took the biggest hit in dollar terms but remain at No. 1 with $13.9 billion. Their fortune was down by $3.3 billion amid a contracting economy and soaring unemployment. Property tycoon Manuel Villar suffered a $1.6 billion drop in his net worth to $5 billion but held on to his rank as the country’s second-richest.

Banking fortunes were especially hard hit. The Ty siblings of GT Capital and Metrobank shed 46% of their fortune, to $1.4 billion. Frederick Dy was down more than 46% to $190 million as shares in his Security Bank fell 52% over the past year.

Oscar Lopez, who holds a majority stake in TV network ABS-CBN, saw his net worth nearly halve to $240 million after Philippine lawmakers in July rejected the company’s bid to renew its 25-year broadcast license; the shares have lost close to 65% of their value over the past year.

Of the 10 listees whose fortunes rose, Edgar Sia II was this year’s biggest gainer in both percentage and dollar terms. He added $300 million, or 75%, to his net worth, which is now $700 million. That rise was partly due to the successful IPO of his MerryMart in June; shares of the grocer have nearly doubled since the listing as quarantine measures boosted sales.

Six names dropped off the list, including Edgar Saavedra of Megawide Construction. Megawide’s shares fell by more than 65% after reporting a first-half net loss of 398 million pesos ($8 million). Megawide’s cofounder Michael Cosiquien, however, stayed on the list as most of his wealth is tied to an earlier sale of the company’s shares. The estate of San Miguel’s Eduardo Cojuangco, who died in June, was inherited by his wife, Soledad Oppen-Cojuangco, who came in at No. 16; she shares the fortune with their four children—Carlos, Luisa, Margarita and Mark.

Similarly, Lance Gokongwei and his siblings debuted on the list at No. 4, replacing their father John Gokongwei Jr., who died in November 2019. Lance Gokongwei shares the fortune with his five sisters: Faith, Hope, Lisa, Marcia and Robina.

Four returned to the ranks: Mikel Aboitiz, Lourdes Montinola, Michael Romero and Luis Virata; their comeback was largely due to this year’s lower cutoff, which fell 23% from last year’s list to $100 million.

Reporting by Grace Chung, John Kang, Sean Kilachand, Anuradha Raghunathan, Anis Shakirah Mohd Muslimin and Yue Wang.


Full Coverage of Philippines’ Richest 2020:


Methodology

The list was compiled using information from the individuals, stock exchanges, analysts, private databases, government agencies and other sources. Net worths were based on stock prices and exchange rates as of the close of markets on August 28, 2020. Private companies were valued by using financial ratios and other comparisons with similar publicly traded companies. Since 2017, we’re no longer including families in which the founder of the business has died, unless the successors are wealthy enough to make the cutoff individually; in these cases, we combine the inherited fortunes.

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