Sa huli ang pagsisisi: Cash-strapped Dennis Uy regrets not getting partners, borrowing too much, expanding too fast under Duterte

Duterte crony Dennis Uy has admitted that piling up a mountain of debt and going solo in his empire building in the last six years was a mistake.

“We should’ve raised equity, which we planned in 2020, but we made the decision that debt is cheaper,” said Uy in an interview with Bloomberg.

The Davao-based businessman also admitted that he should have brought in “strategic partners” when he expanded from his core business in fuel (Phoenix Petroleum) and shipping (Chelsea) into highly competitive businesses – such as casino (PH Resorts), offshore gas production (Malampaya), property (Udenna Tower) and telecoms (DITO) – in the six years of his patron, former President Rodrigo Duterte.

“We expanded too fast in the past, and the only reason we did that was that there was a very strong belief that the economy will improve,” said Martin Escalona, president of Udenna, Uy’s holding company.

Uy had previously justified his Pacman-like expansion a year into the Duterte administration.

“We’re aggressive in expanding our businesses because we believe in the president’s economic agenda. When else is a better time to do that but now? We just have to open our eyes to the opportunities,” said Uy at the peak of his influence in 2017.

Uy is currently looking to unload crown jewels in his empire to pay off debt which reached P180 billion as of 2020.


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