E-commerce and tourism are areas with ample room for growth in the Philippines, grabbing attention of the fastest growing business conglomerate in the Philippines, said its founder and one of the most recognized Filipino entrepreneurs.
“Udenna Corporation aims to capture every opportunity from sound partnerships to strategic acquisitions to expand its existing businesses and create synergy among them, said Dennis Uy, chairman and president of the Davao City-based company in the Philippines.
The 44-year-old business tycoon who has been in the spotlight for aggressive merger and acquisitions shared his business insights in a recent interview with Maeil Business Newspaper at Phoenix Petroleum office in Bonifacio Global City, a financial district in the Philippines.
“Udenna is a fast-growing conglomerate with diverse interests in industries with high impact and that are vital to the growth of the economy,” he said.
Uy’s business has thrived at dizzy pace since the launch of the Rodrigo Duterte government in June 2016.
Udenna Corporation bought a controlling stake in logistics giant 2GO Group in September 2016 and gobbled up an enterprise almost monthly.
In July, last year, Udenna Corporation acquired Enderun Colleges Inc., an elite private school in Bonifacio Global City, and in August, Petronas Energy Philippines Inc., the local business of Malaysia’s state-run oil company. In September, Udenna Corporation ventured into shipping business by acquiring Starlite Ferries based in the Province of Batangas.
In November, last year, Udenna Corporation bought a development company engaged in the construction of a multi-city near Clark International Airport, and in December, it invested in H20 Ventures Corp., a sole private water supplier in the Philippines. Early this year, the company was involved in the buyout of FamilyMart CVS Inc., a convenience store chain operator in the Philippines, and expanded its business portfolio to a wide range from distribution, education, leisure, city development, to retail, in just one year.
The aggressive expansion has led Udenna Corporation’s sales to balloon from $2 million in 2002 to $983 million last year.
“We are entrepreneurial and if there is an opportunity to expand within and outside the country, we will grab that,” Uy said. “It is just a matter of timing.”
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, right, attends the tenth anniversary of the listing of Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Inc., an independent oil company founded by Dennis Uy, chairman and chief executive of Udenna Corporation, at the Philippine Stock Exchange on July 11, last year. [Photo provided by Philippine Information Agency]
Uy - the youngest dollar billionaire in the Philippines - is also known be close to President Duterte who served as Davao City mayor for more than 22 years.
“I have come to admire the man for making it possible for businesses to thrive by ensuring peace and order when conflicts gripped the rest of Mindanao,” Uy said. “His leadership also allowed smaller entrepreneurs like myself to compete with big corporations in industries.”
Uy’s aggressive investment into a wide range of businesses, meanwhile, is based on the prospect for economic growth in the Philippines.
The World Bank projects the Philippine economy to grow by 6.7 percent this year, which is the highest among Southeast Asian countries. The Philippine government has announced a target range of 7-8 percent based on infrastructure development.
“We are optimistic that our economy will continue growing, amid the reforms being made to improve the business environment in the Philippines,” Uy said. “The acceleration of infrastructure development for one will allow business to expand in other regions and create more jobs in the countryside.”
When it comes to prospective business sectors in the Philippines, Uy noted electronic commerce and tourism.
“Philippines is a latecomer in e-commerce but young people are getting used to mobile shopping,” he said. “Demand for travel to Southeast Asian countries will [also] soar as the middle class is growing.”
By Lim Young-sin and Lee Eun-joo
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