Business News

Villar tops PHL Forbes billionaires list, only Filipino to make it to world top 200

MAKATI CITY – Former Senate President and Speaker turned real estate magnate Manuel “Manny” Villar Jr. is now he only Filipino in the world’s top 200 billionaires in 2024 as ranked by Forbes Magazine.

The prestigious and influential magazine said Villar ranked 190 out of the 200 billionaires in the world in 2024 with a total net worth of $11.7 billion (P660,125,700,000).

Last year, Villar’s assets were  $8 billion (P451,376,000,000), the Forbes magazine said.

Villar grew his fortune to $11 billion from $8.6 billion in 2023 as he chairs several listed firms, including his biggest assets Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc. and Golden MV Holdings, a developer of mass housing projects and memorial parks.

“Villar is diversifying his business with new investments in free-to-air TV and plans to build a casino and a theme park in southern Metro Manila,” the magazine said.

According to Forbes, the former lawmaker’s biggest asset is his stake in Golden MV Holdings, a developer of housing projects and memorial parks.

Villar also leads Vista Land & Lifescapes, a property development company managed by his son Manuel Paolo Villar.

The Villar patriarch also controls four other publicly traded companies, which include mall operator Vistamalls, home improvement chain AllHome, supermarket chain AllDay Marts and Premiere Island Power REIT.

In June 2022, the company introduced VistaREIT, a real estate investment trust, with an initial collection of 10 shopping malls and two office towers, according to Forbes.

Villar is the husband of Sen. Cynthia Villar and the father of Sen. Mark Villar and Rep. Camille Villar (Las Piñas).

Villar ran for president during the 2010 elections but lost to former President Benigno Aquino III.

Villar also became the former speaker of the House of Representatives from 1998 to 2000 during the administration of former President Joseph Estrada during which he endorsed the impeachment of Estrada to the Senate that eventually resulted to Estrada’s fall. 

In the Top 50 billionaires in the Philippines, meanwhile, Villar ranked second next to the Sy Siblings who has a combined wealth of $14.4 billion (P812,476,800,000).

Villar top the Forbes list because the Sy siblings were ranked individually in the world list. 

Villar was followed by ports, arrastre, shipping and casino magnate Enrique Razon with his net worth rising to $10 billion from $7.3 billion in 2023. 

San Miguel Corp. president and chief executive officer Ramon S. Ang was third with a net worth of $3.5 billion, up from $3.4 billion.

Next on the PH list are the SM “Sy-blings” Hans Sy ($2.6 billion), Henry Sy Jr. and Herbert Sy ($2.5 billion), tobacco tycoon Lucio Tan ($2.5 billion), Harley Sy ($2.4 billion), Teresita Sy-Coson ($2.3 billion), and Elizabeth Sy ($2.1 billion). 

Megaworld Corp. chairman Andrew Tan ($2 billion), Jollibee Foods Corp. chairman Tony Tan Caktiong ($1.4 billion), and JG Summit Holdings corp. chairman Lance Gokongwei ($1.1 billion) rounded up the country’s top 10.

Villar  is hundreds of billions behind this year’s No. 1, Bernard Arnault and his family, with a net worth of $233 billion.

Arnault is head of LVMH, the luxury fashion and cosmetics conglomerate in France bannered by Louis Vuitton, and his family is usually in the top three of Forbes’ wealthiest people in the world lists.

The wealthiest woman on the billionaires list comes in at No. 15: Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, the granddaughter of the founder of L’Oreal. As the richest woman in the world, she is worth $99.5 billion.

Forbes reported that the number of billionaires worldwide has increased to 2,781,141 more than last year. 

This growth comes despite geopolitical unrest and ongoing inflation concerns as their wealth expands. (Jeanne Michael Penaranda)