Roberto Ongpin

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Roberto V. Ongpin is the 21st richest Filipino ranked by Forbes in 2010 with a listed networth of USD300 million. He was a former Trade Minister during the Marcos administration. He has partnered with other investors in an effort to acquire 15 percent of Eduardo Cojuanco’s share in San Miguel Corporation. He also has business interests in gaming, mining, property and telcom.


Early beginnings

Ongpin graduated from Ateneo de Manila University and Harvard Business School. In 1964, he joined SyCip Gorres Velayo (SGV) & Co and became the managing partner six years later. In his early 40s, former president Ferdinand Marcos recruited him to be the Minister of Trade in 1979. He held the position until 1986.

After his stint in the public sector, he left the Philippines and became the deputy chairman of the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post.

Return to the private sector

In 1988 Ongpin established AIA Capital with the backing of former Chairman and CEO Hank Greenberg.

In 1990, Ongpint transformed the mining company Belle Resources (PSE: BEL)into a high-end property developer and one of its main projects, the Tagaytay Highlands, was regarderd by Ongpin as his brainchild. Ten years later, Ongpin had a falling out with his partners and was ousted as the CEO.

He then took over listed firms South Seas Oil and Mineral Exploration and Itogon-Suyoc Mines and transformed them into gaming and IT firms. He would rename the latter as ISM Communications (PSE: ISM).

In 2005, Ongpin partnered with the London-based Ashmore Group with the former utilizing the USD37.5 billion the latter has. Through Alphaland, Ashmore acquired a property from the Puyat family for P1.2 billion and spent another one billion pesos to construct the Alphaland Southgate Tower.

There are still five more projects in the pipeline: Alphaland Bay City, Alphaland Makati Place, Alphaland Makati Tower, the six-star Shangri-La at the Fort and the 424-hectare Balesin Island development in Quezon province. Total cost for the projects are estimated at USD650 million.

In 2008, Ongpin and the Ashmore group bought back the shares of Philex Mining (PSE: PX) from the Gokongwei group bringing its stake in the country’s largest copper and gold producer to eight percent. A year later, it solidified its position by buying an additional 50 million shares at P12.75 a share. Later on, Ongpin sold its shares to Hong Kong-listed First Pacific for an 18 percent premium.

Ashmore group also became the single largest shareholder of Petron in 2008 after it acquired Saudi Aramco’s 40 percent stake and the other 10.57 percent from small investors. San Miguel Corporation eventually bought the stake for USD540 million.

In 2009, Ongpin bought 80 percent of the listed mining firm Atok Big Wedged Company (PSE: AB)for USD11 million. When the deal was announced in September, stocks of Atok soared from P1.94 to P92 for an increase of 4642 percent. It also acquired 66 percent stake of the listed firm Macondray Plastic Inc. from the Lorenzo family for P218 million. It plans to use the company as a backdoor listing for Alphaland (PSE: ALPHA).

In the same year, Ongpin, together with Inigo Zobel and Jose Campos, acquired 28 percent stake in San Miguel Corporation for P64.3 billion at P75 a share. The sale was made through the holding firm Top Frontier in which, Ongpin holds 20 percent while the remaining 80 percent are split evenly between Zobel and Campos.

The triumvirate were also the incorporators of Global 5000 Investment Inc. which acquired seven percent of Meralco from the Social Security System (SSS) and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP).


Ongpin is the Chaiman of the Board of:

Philweb Corporation ISM Communication Eastern Telecommunication Developing Countries Investment Corporation La Flor de la Isabela Alphaland Corporation

Deputy Chairman South China Morning Post

Director Philex Mining Corporation Araneta Properties Shangri-la Asia, Hong Kong




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{{Category: Business people]]