PHL tycoon Uy’s business may face $700 million debt bill

The business empire of Philippine tycoon Dennis A. Uy, which recently made headlines with a notice of default, may face nearly $700 million worth of loans maturing this year.

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

An estimated $47 million of dual-currency debt with BOC’s Manila branch set to come due on Aug. 20. A chunk of two other loans — for $199.7 million and $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.

Leo Venezuela spokesman for parent Udenna Corp. said he couldn’t answer questions regarding DITO CME’s finances citing a blackout period before the release of the second-quarter financial report on Monday.

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-fueled expansion of the business empire of Mr. Uy, who counts former president Rodrigo R. Duterte as a family friend.

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

Already last month, a DITO CME affiliate received default notice from a consortium of banks. Udenna later said it had “settled the matter.”

The quarterly filing also states that the group’s liabilities exceeded its assets by 126.4 billion pesos at the end of March, which it conceded might cast “significant doubt” on its viability.

“Albeit these conditions, management believes that the group will be able to meet all its outstanding obligations and continue to operate as a going concern,” DITO CME said.

An external spokesperson for DITO Telecom didn’t respond to Bloomberg’s emailed requests for comment. A call to DITO CME’s general number went unanswered.

Bank of China and China Minsheng Banking Corp. did not immediately respond to emailed requests for comment. — Bloomberg