It’s not immediately clear why Dennis Uy, the top contributor to President Rodrigo Duterte’s 2016 campaign, is putting big assets up for sale
MANILA, Philippines — A tycoon and close associate of outgoing Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is considering selling businesses collectively worth billions of dollars, including a gas field in the South China Sea and a commercial land leasing company on the site of a former US military base, two sources with knowledge of the matter said Thursday, May 12.
Dennis Uy, chairman of conglomerate Udenna Corporation and listed Chelsea Logistics, has seen rapid growth and diversification of his business empire during the six years of chairmanship of Duterte, who steps down next month.
The assets he plans to sell are the Malampaya gas field, which Uy acquired from Chevron and Shell for about $1 billion, and Clark Global City, which also cost $1 billion, the sources told Reuters , refusing to be identified as they were not authorized. talk to the media.
They said buyers were looking for prospects for some of Uy’s other businesses, including oil retailer Phoenix Petroleum and its new telecommunications company Dito, as well as the schools and food businesses it operates.
It was not immediately clear why Uy, Duterte’s top campaign contributor during his 2016 presidential run, was putting the assets up for sale. Its representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Uy, 48, is one of the Philippines’ leading entrepreneurs, whose appetite for risk and acquisitions has allowed him to build the bulk of his empire in just a few years.
Udenna Corporation nearly quadrupled its portfolio to over 100 companies in the first four years of Duterte’s presidency, in industries ranging from gaming, shipping, education and construction to fast food, ferries, tourism, telecommunications and sports cars.
The company has long insisted that it received no preferential treatment under Duterte and that all companies and contracts were acquired fairly.
Duterte will be replaced by Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the notorious dictator’s son, who won a landslide presidential election on Monday, May 9.
Billionaire Enrique Razon Jr., one of the sources said, is among the preferred bidders for the deals for Malampaya and Clark Gateway – the developer and owner of a 177-hectare (437.4-acre) business district near from Clark International Airport.
The deals have been ongoing for “a few months already,” the source said, adding “an announcement seems imminent.”
Razon, the third richest man in the Philippines with a net worth of $5.8 billion according to a Forbes ranking, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Its Bloomberry Resorts announced on Wednesday, May 11, that they had signed an agreement to invest in Uy’s integrated casino-resort projects in Clark and the central province of Cebu.
The Malampaya gas field feeds power plants that supply about one-fifth of the Philippines’ electricity needs. In December, Uy’s Udenna said Malampaya could operate several more years beyond the project’s planned lifespan in 2027.
The proposed asset sales come after the pandemic decimated the profitability of many businesses in Uy.
Udenna’s total liabilities increased by almost half to 254 billion pesos ($4.85 billion) in 2020, from 171 billion pesos in 2019, according to the latest available data from the corporate regulator. – Rappler.com
$1 = P52.4070