Singapore’s 2018 crop of 22 billionaires include 16 real estate tycoons with a total fortune of $43.7 billion, which grew nearly 10 percent from last year, according to the latest Forbes rich list.
The 2018 ranking by the media company tallies up 2,208 global billionaires collectively worth $9.1 trillion – up 18 percent from last year. Nearly two dozen members of this rarefied club hail from Singapore, wielding combined fortunes of $64.5 billion. Although the sources of their wealth range from banking to paint making, the lion’s share of the billionaires derived their riches in whole or in part from the property sector.
Heading the list for the city-state are Robert and Philip Ng, the brothers who control real estate giant Far East Organization and its Hong Kong-based sister company Sino Group, landing at number 140 in the global ranking with an estimated fortune of $10.8 billion.
Property Tycoons Post 9.5% Wealth Surge
The overall wealth of Singapore’s real estate magnates grew 9.5 percent from the $39.9 billion recorded in March of last year. The assets of the Ng brothers soared by a full $2.1 billion year-on-year from $8.7 billion, as Hong Kong-listed developer Sino Land posted a 218.6 percent surge in underlying profit for the July to December period.
Sino Land, chaired by Robert Ng, was also Hong Kong’s most hyperactive land buyer in 2017, spending more than HK$22 billion ($2.8 billion) to snap up seven sites by itself or through joint ventures.
The wealth of the Kwee family, which controls hotel and office developer Pontiac Land, jumped half a billion dollars to $5.6 billion. Kwek Leng Beng, executive chairman of property giant City Developments Limited (CDL) and its parent conglomerate Hong Leong Group, chalked up a roughly $200 million increase to his net worth, which now stands at an estimated $2.9 billion.
Investor Oei Hong Leong, who last year announced he was setting up a new $5 billion data centre developer called One Belt One Net, also saw his fortune rise to $1.4 billion over the year.
Two Tycoons Lose Ground
Only two property investors saw their wealth slip over the year: palm oil tycoon Kuok Khoon Hong, who has stakes in Yanlord Land and Perennial Real Estate, and frozen foods baron Sam Goi, who also has real estate investments through listed firms GSH Corp and KOP Ltd.
Among the city-state’s property billionaires, the most modest fortune of $1.1 billion is held by developer Koh Wee Meng, founder of Singapore-listed Fragrance Group which owns budget hospitality chain Fragrance Hotel.