A number of entrepreneurs with casino interests makes the latest list of the “Philippines’ 50 Richest” compiled by Forbes. They owe their ranking not only to the gambling sector but also to diversified business interests, with some activities in the family for several generations.
In top spot, with an estimated combined net worth of US$17.2 billion, are six children of the late Henry Sy, a tycoon who died in January. They are: Teresita, Elizabeth, Henry Jr, Hans, Herbert and Harley.
Their inherited riches are comprised largely of stakes held in the family-founded, publicly-traded SM Investments Corp – a conglomerate focused on shopping malls and real estate – and SM Prime Holdings Inc, a real estate developer.
The family founded Belle Corp, an investor in gaming, including in the City of Dreams Manila casino resort in the Philippine capital, that is managed by a unit of casino group Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd. In April Premium Leisure Corp, a unit of Belle Corp, suggested there might be more casino properties in the Philippines under the moniker ‘City of Dreams’.
In fourth spot in the Philippines’ 50 Richest is Enrique Razon (pictured), with a real-time net worth estimated at US$5.1 billion as of Wednesday.
He chairs Philippines-listed Bloomberry Resorts Corp, which developed and operates the Solaire Resort and Casino in Entertainment City in Manila. Mr Razon’s family first made its money in port operations, a business founded by his grandfather at the start of the 20th century. Mr Razon now runs International Container Terminal Services, said to be the country’s leading cargo terminal operator.
In 10th spot on Forbes’ rundown is Andrew Tan, with an estimated net worth of US$2.55 billion. His Alliance Global Group Inc has a partnership with Hong Kong-listed cruise ship operator Genting Hong Kong Ltd. Together they control Travellers International Hotel Group Inc, the operator of the Resorts World Manila casino resort at Newport City, opposite Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the Philippine capital’s main air hub.
In August, Philippine-listed Travellers International began a PHP8.7-billion (US$167-million) tender offer to take the business private.
In 22nd spot on Forbes’ list is Dennis Uy, via an estimated net worth of US$660 million. He is the founder of Udenna Corp, a conglomerate with interests spanning petroleum, oil and gas, shipping, logistics, real estate and education. It is also developing – via a related entity – sites with a view to having gaming business.
In May this year, an executive of PH Resorts Group Holdings Inc, a listed arm of Udenna, said PH Resorts would borrow up to US$420 million to build a casino resort on the island of Mactan, an island adjacent to Cebu.
The PH Resorts portfolio is also developing another resort – in the northern province of Pampanga, in the Clark Freeport Zone – with the aim of offering casino gaming. In December last year a projected completion date of 2022 was mentioned for the construction work.
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”This year, so far, we will be starting [revamp] work at Grand Hyatt; then, we are looking at Countdown, and afterwards we will look at Altira and others”
Chairman and chief executive of Melco Resorts