The Almost Unstoppable Dennis Uy

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By Jonathan dela Cruz

In 2021, Forbes magazine placed the net worth of Dennis Uy at $710 million, ranking him the 27th richest individual in the Philippines.

And at 48 years old, Uy may be one of the younger billionaires, in peso terms, in the Philippines. Currently, he runs his business empire through the Udenna Group, which he found, that has interests in petroleum, oil and gas, shipping, logistics, real estate, education and gaming.

According to the website of Udenna Group, Uy holds the following positions across the group: Chairman, Chelsea Logistics and Infrastructure Holdings, Corp.; President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Phoenix Petroleum Phils., Inc.; Chairman, PH Resorts Group Holdings, Inc.; Chairman and CEO, DITO Telecommunity Corporation; CEO and founder, Converge ICT Solutions, Inc., and Chairman and CEO, Dennison Holdings, Corp.

Uy is also the exclusive distributor of Ferrari and Maserati automobiles in the Philippines.

In March of 2021, Chelsea Logistics sold its stake in 2Go to the SM Group.

In May 2021, Uy hogged the business headlines by acquiring a controlling interest in the Malampaya gas field in the West Philippine Sea for at least $380 million. But in a strange twist, Uy is selling his stake in Malampaya to port magnate and billionaire Enrique Razon Jr.

Also, Udenna made the headlines recently by getting a notice of default from a consortium of banks lead by BDO Unibank for loans amounting to P225 million, which Uy said had been settled. It was also reported that his company’s liabilities was over P254 billon against total assets of P310.34 billion, based on a regulatory filing.

“In relation to the various reports recently published, which involved Clark Global City Corporation (CGCC), Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC), and a consortium of banks led by BDO Unibank, we wish to announce that Udenna Corporation settled the matter today, 25 July 2022, prior to the mandated deadline, and to the satisfaction of the majority lender and the consortium banks,” Udenna said in a statement.

“Ultimately, we at Udenna Corporation remain steadfast in our commitments and our investments, and we continue to value our partnerships, which enable us to serve the country and the Filipino people,” he added.

 

Self-made

Forbes describes Uy as “self-made,” which likely means he worked hard for his current status or did not inherit any form of wealth.

However, his supposed closeness to then President Rodrigo Duterte did not escape attention, as he did not deny that he was one of the contributors to the 2016 presidential bid of the former Davao City mayor. Notably, Udenna is based in Davao City, the former president’s hometown.

Also, Uy was charged for smuggling but was dismissed by the Supreme Court in December last year. In effect, the Supreme Court (SC) upheld the rulings by the Court of Appeals and the Davao Regional Trial Court (RTC) in dismissing criminal cases against Uy and a customs broker.

Uy, then the president and CEO of Phoenix Petroleum, and Jorlan Cabanes, were charged for allegedly smuggling P5.9 billion worth of petroleum products in 2010 and 2011. The case was initiated by Senator Leila de Lima who was Department of Justice (DOJ) secretary at the time.

“In sum, the lower courts’ finding of no probable cause are supported by relevant laws and evidence on record. Mindful of these considerations, the Court of Appeals’ affirmation of the dismissal of the charges is not tainted with grave abuse of discretion,” read the Supreme Court decision said.

So far, Uy has chosen to keep a low profile towards the media despite his companies gaining ground in their respective industries.

For one, Converge emerged as the top fixed internet service provider (ISP) in the country, according to the “Speedtest Awards” for the first quarter to second quarter of 2022.

In its report, users of the Speedtest website—a network analytics website and app operated by United States-based internet analytics company Ookla — gave Converge a rating of 3.5, followed by Globe at 3.4, PLDT at 3.0, and SKY at 2.8.

Of course, Uy is elated over that, remarking: “There’s nothing more important than giving people the service they deserve and I’m glad this is reflected in the top ISP ratings,” Uy said.

“Taking home the award only proves that the company’s customer-centric approach is being recognized by its loyal customers,” he added.

It looks like there is no stopping Dennis Uy.

 

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