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Mystery as Philippine Tycoon Sets Post-Election Divestment

Dennis Uy, chairman of conglomerate Udenna Corporation and listed Chelsea Logistics, plans to divest from a South China Sea gas field and a commercial land leasing company


Dennis Uy is selling assets after the Duterte era ends.
Dennis Uy's appetite for risk and acquisitions saw him build the bulk of his empire in just a few years. File photo: AFP

 

Mystery surrounds a decision by a Philippine tycoon, who is a close associate of outgoing president Rodrigo Duterte, to sell off assets collectively worth several billion dollars.

Dennis Uy, chairman of conglomerate Udenna Corporation and listed Chelsea Logistics, plans to divest from a South China Sea gas field and a commercial land leasing company at the site of a former US military base, sources have said.

It was not immediately clear why Uy, the top campaign contributor of Duterte in his 2016 presidential run, was putting the assets up for sale. His representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Uy, 48, is one of the Philippines’ leading entrepreneurs, whose appetite for risk and acquisitions saw him build the bulk of his empire in just a few years.

Chelsea Logistics shares fell 4.8% on Thursday.

His companies have seen rapid growth and diversification of his business empire during the six-year presidency of Duterte, who leaves office next month.

 

 

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Over 100 Firms

The assets he is considering selling are the Malampaya gas field, which Uy had acquired from Chevron and Shell for $1 billion, and Clark Global City, which also cost $1 billion, the sources said.

They said buyers had been looking at prospects for some of Uy’s other businesses, including oil retailer Phoenix Petroleum and his new telecom firm DITO, plus schools and food businesses he operates.

Udenna nearly quadrupled its portfolio to more than 100 firms in the first four years of the Duterte presidency, in sectors from gaming, shipping, education and construction to fast food, ferries, tourism, telecoms and sports cars.

The company has long insisted it received no preferential treatment under Duterte and all businesses and contracts were acquired fairly.

Duterte will make way for Ferdinand Marcos Jr, the son of the notorious dictator, who won a presidential election by a landslide on Monday.

 

  • Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell

 

 

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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.

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