Philippine tycoon and Duterte supporter Uy’s business may face $959m debt bill

MANILA (BLOOMBERG) – The business empire of Philippine tycoon Dennis Uy, which recently made headlines with a notice of default, may face nearly US$700 million (S$959 million) worth of loans maturing this year.

The most recent financial report of Uy-backed Dito CME Holdings, covering the quarter through end-March and published in late May, lists subsidiary Dito Telecommunity – a venture with China Telecommunications Corp. – as having taken out the money with three different Bank of China (BOC) branches.

An estimated US$47 million of dual-currency debt with BOC’s Manila branch is set to come due on Aug 20.

A chunk of two other loans – for US$199.7 million and US$449.9 million – taken out with the lender’s units in Singapore and Hong Kong may also mature then, according to the document.

It lists Oct 12 as another maturity date.

Mr Leo Venezuela, spokesman for parent Udenna, said he could not answer questions regarding Dito’s finances, citing a blackout period before the release of the second-quarter financial report Monday (Aug 15).

That publication is likely to give a more recent snapshot of its finances, including whether the BOC loans were rolled over, renegotiated or paid back.

But the liabilities add to the picture of a debt-fuelled expansion of the business empire of Mr Uy, who counts former president Rodrigo Duterte as a family friend.

The Uy and China Telecommunications’ venture is the newest telecoms provider in the Philippines.

Already last month, a Dito affiliate received default notice from a consortium of banks.

Udenna later said it had “settled the matter”.