Manuel B. Villar Jr., a former politician who is currently at the helm of his family’s businesses, has emerged as the only Filipino listed in Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s top 500 richest people.
Based on the market value of his publicly-listed businesses, Villar has been ranked by Bloomberg as the 382nd richest in the world as of January 9.
The Bloomberg list ranks Tesla’s Elon Musk as the world’s richest with a total net worth of $209 billion, followed by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos with $186 billion and Microsoft founder Bill Gates with $134 billion.
Villar’s businesses in real estate, retail and utilities were estimated to be worth $6.76 billion, 1.4 p2ercent or about $92.7 million higher from the same day last year despite the stock market crash triggered by the pandemic.
Forbes Magazine also ranked Villar as the country’s richest individual in September 2020.
Villar is the founder and chairman of Vista Land and Lifescapes Inc., the company that built its chain of subdivisions in the country. The firm has built about 300,000 homes in more than 140 cities.
The family businesses grew from there, and formed other companies such as Golden Bria Holdings Inc., a property and death care company and Vistamalls, the shopping mall operator.
Villar owns 89 percent of Golden Bria though Fine Properties, Cambridge Group and directly. He also controls about 75 percent of Vista Land through Fine Properties, Althorp Holdings, Manuela Corp. and directly on his own.
Vista Land owns most of the shares of its publicly listed subsidiary Vistamalls while Villar’s holding company also owns part of the stock. The tycoon is also calculated to own 68 percent of AllHome Corp., the listed retail arm of the family.
Villar was born in Manila on December 13, 1949. His father worked for the government and his mother was a fishmonger.
He helped his mother sell fish at a local market as a young boy and credits his mother with teaching him what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
He obtained degrees in business administration and accountancy from the University of the Philippines before taking a job as an accountant at Sycip Gorres and Velayo. Soon after he left to start a seafood delivery business.
In 1975, Villar bought two trucks to begin transporting gravel in Las Piñas. This led to housing development. His strategy was to provide house and land packages to low-income earners. By 1984 he had also founded Golden Haven, a chain of cemeteries.
Article and Photo originally posted by Business Mirror last January 11, 2021 and written by VG Cabuag. Minor edits have been made by REBPH to cater to its own readers.