Investing in Philippines: Who is Henry Sy Sr.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Who is Henry Sy Sr.

Henry Sy(born October 25, 1924) is a Chinese Filipino businessman and the founder of SM Group and chairman of SM Prime Holdings, the largest retailer and shopping mall operator in the Philippines.

He earned his Associate of Arts degree in Commercial Studies at Far Eastern University in 1950. 

Acknowledged as the country’s "Retail King," he has come a long way from the modest shoe store he set up in Quiapo in 1946, to become Asia's biggest shopping mall operator with over 30 malls throughout the Philippines.

He had 1.4 billion dollars in 2008, one of the richest men in the Philippines, next to Lucio Tan. As of 2010 Mr.Sy's net worth was estimated at $4.2 billion by Forbes Asia topping the Philippines rich list. On July 27, 2010, Sy confirmed that half of his industry would be shared with lifelong friends, the Wee family. 

Sy is considered a Tai-Pan or tycoon of Asia. The Sy group is the operator of Banco de Oro Universal Bank and owner of China Banking Corporation. In 2006, he bought the remaining 66% of Equitable PCI Bank, the Philippines 3rd largest lender, in which he already had a 34% stake, and merged it with Banco de Oro Universal Bank in 2007. The merger created the Philippine's second largest financial institution in 2008 and taking the top spot in 2009 with resources of close to $20 billion dollars.

Mr. Sy has recently sold his 11% stake in San Miguel Corporation, Southeast Asia's largest food and beverage conglomerate for $680 million.

Henry Sy, Sr., was named "Management Man of the Year" by the Makati Business Club and was conferred an Honorary Doctorate in Business Management by De La Salle University-Manila in January 1999.He organized the SM Foundation Inc., which helps underprivileged but promising young Filipinos.

Sy's retail chain is SM Prime Holdings, known as "Shoe Mart" or simply "SM". Several of his children now hold senior management positions in his companies, although he has groomed daughter Teresita Sy-Coson as his successor.

Sy's holding company, SM Investments Corp., has consistently been cited as one of the Philippines best-managed companies.On May 20, 2006, The SM Mall of Asia, built in the reclamation area of Pasay City, was opened to the public.It is the fourth-largest mall in the world.


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