This story appears in the August 2023 issue of Forbes Asia. Subscribe to Forbes Asia
This story is part of Forbes’ coverage of Philippines’ Richest 2023. See the full list here.
The Yuchengco family, which recently consolidated certain long-held businesses under their Manila-based listed flagship, House of Investments (HOI), joins the list for the first time. The fortune, now worth $420 million, was earlier listed under patriarch Alfonso Yuchengco, who died in 2017 at age 94. Helen Yuchengco-Dee, the eldest of his eight children, chairs HOI and is the president of the Yuchengco Group.
In the May restructuring, which was part of a broader move to unlock value for the group, the family agreed to sell its privately held interests in insurance firm Sun Life Grepa Financial, Mico Equities and Grepa Realty Holdings to HOI in an all-share deal valued at 15.7 billion pesos ($288.6 million). Separately, HOI sold 34% of construction company EEI Corp. in two tranches, raising 2.3 billion pesos to repay debts, the company said.
The Yuchengco family’s biggest asset remains its stake in Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC), one of the country’s largest lenders, in which it is the biggest shareholder. In November, Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Banking boosted its stake in the bank to 20% from 5%, paying 27.1 billion pesos for the shares. RCBC’s net profit climbed 71% to 12.1 billion pesos last year and a further 70% year-on-year in the first quarter of this year, bolstered by lending growth.
RCBC became embroiled in a 2016 bank heist when hackers stole $81 million from a Bangladesh account with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and routed the funds to RCBC. A chunk of that money disappeared in the country’s casinos (about $20 million was recovered). The Philippine central bank levied a 1-billion-peso fine on RCBC for rule violations and a branch manager was convicted for money laundering. In January, New York’s Supreme Court confirmed it had jurisdiction in a theft complaint filed against RCBC and others by Bangladesh’s central bank and denied the motions to dismiss filed by RCBC. The bank said it will continue to defend the case. It declined to give further comment.