ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Singapore's 50 richest people just got 11% richer in 2018

The Ng brothers alone got a boost of US$25b.

The combined wealth of the top 50 richest Singaporeans jumped 11% to US$116b in 2018, Forbes said. This is despite current geopolitical challenges and a flat growth in the Singapore dollar and the benchmark Straits Times Index (STI).

Brothers Robert and Philip Ng topped the list with US$11.9b and got the largest boost of US$25b, partly on new information about their private assets. Their Far East-led consortium scored a victory in the popular Holland Village precinct with a US$904m bid, beating out more than a dozen other aspirants.

Facebook co-founder and Singapore resident Eduardo Saverin, whose fortune was also up by US$2.5b, remains a close number two with US$11.8b. Facebook shares gained 30% on a jump in ad revenues.

Another billion-dollar gainer is New Zealander and long-time Singapore permanent resident Richard Chandler, who jumped four places to top eight. His Singapore-headquartered Clermont Group's net assets surged 50% on undisclosed investment gains, according to official filings.

It was also an eventful year for paint tycoon Goh Cheng Liang, who has a 39% stake in Japan's Nippon Paint Holdings. “In a boardroom coup in March, his son Goh Hup Jin took control of the storied 137-year-old Japanese firm—he was named the chairman and oversaw the appointment of five new directors to the board,” Forbes recalled.

There are three newcomers to the list: Gordon Tang of property firm SingHaiyi Group; Bangladesh-born Singapore resident Muhammed Aziz Khan, chairman of Summit Group; and Forrest Li, who listed his firm Sea on the NYSE in October.

The sole returnee, after a four-year hiatus, is former DuPont executive Yao Hsiao Tung. His company Hi-P International, which has customers such as Apple, were up more than a third in the past year as both annual revenue and earning hit records.

Four dropoffs included Serge Pun, whose Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings fell on real-estate dips in his native Myanmar.

Forbes’ rankings are based on stock prices and exchange rates as of 13 July.

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