"This man has always been a dreamer."
His dream is to connect and unify the Philippines’ major islands and cities.
Dennis Uy wants to do this wirelessly, by putting up the archipelago’s third telco, a P279-billion venture with the Chinese. And physically, through a network of roads, expressways, railways, airports, intermodal terminals, and tourism destinations linked by a modern shipping line, cargo, warehousing, software services, and logistics network.
It is an ambitious dream. Dennis has always been a dreamer.
Dennis is chairman of four major companies—Udenna Corp., his holding company, Dito Telecommunity Corp., his telco; Chelsea Logistics and Infrastructure Holdings, his shipping, logistics, and infrastructure company; and Phoenix Petroleum Philippines Inc., his oil retailing company.
Five qualities have made Dennis singularly successful as an entrepreneur—hard work, passion, guts, luck. Since 2016, there has been a sixth factor—being a supporter and friend of fellow Davaweño President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. He is sometimes perceived as a crony of the President, although Dennis can certainly stand on his own merit and track record built by entrepreneurship of more than 20 years.
Udenna Corp. is the fastest-growing company in the country today. In less than 15 years, the group has become a sprawling conglomerate engaged in six major industries—oil, gas, and retail; shipping and logistics; education and food; gaming and tourism; infrastructure; and property development and management. There is a seventh business, Mislatel, the third telco, which has been renamed Dito, a joint venture with ChinaTel. It will launch only 4G services and will no longer offer legacy 2G and 3G systems.
Udenna is a play on Dennis’ name—U for Uy, Denn for Dennis, and A for Ang.
Phoenix Petroleum is now the third-largest local oil company with 630 retail stations and assets of P64 billion.
Shipping and logistics is under Chelsea Logistics and Infrastructure Holdings Corp., the largest and fastest-growing shipping and logistics company locally.
According to the company, Chelsea has 3,300 delivery points, 39,281 tons of shipping tonnage, 65.7 million liters tanker capacity, 7,000 containers of cargo capacity.
Chelsea has assets of P33.5 billion. It has 92 vessels and wants to bank on its first-mover advantage by servicing booming areas of the country “which show superior growth.” It currently services the Roxas-Caticlan, Batangas-Caticlan and Cebu-Tagbilaran-Cagayan de Oro routes.
It has the shipping company Nenaco and the logistics company 2GO said to be “the largest supply chain enterprise and end-to-end solution in the Philippines.” In the first half of 2019 alone, Chelsea posted revenues of P3.5 billion, up 28 percent.
Education has Enderun Colleges in Taguig and a maritime training school in Batangas. Enderun, says its president Ed Rodriguez, “has become an intellectual hub in the areas of hotel administration, culinary arts, entrepreneurship, and management. We have expanded to technology with information systems, a degree focusing on technology management.”
Food is Conti’s 20-outlet coffee shop and bakeshop. “The Philippines foodservice industry amounts to roughly $7.2 billion and over the past decades has had annual growth of 15 percent to 20 percent,” says Dennis of his Conti purchase.
Gaming and resorts is under PH Resorts Group Holdings, a P6.82 billion (in assets) company owned entirely by Dennis and his wife, Cherylyn.
PH Resorts is completing the five-star Emerald Bay and Casino on Mactan island, Cebu.
In Panglao, Bohol, it has the Donatela Hotel which will have 75 villas on a 7.5-ha. The property is just 12 minutes from the airport.
In Clark, it will build a premiere adventure-themed integrated resort” on a 4.4-ha. property.
Property is under Udenna Land, formerly UDEVCO, founded in 2007. It has grown substantially in just a dozen years. It has 249 hectares in the high growth areas of Pampanga, Mega Manila, Batangas, Cebu, and Davao. Its developments include Clark Global City, a 177-hectare property in the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga; Calaca Industrial Seaport, a 108-hectare industrial park with its own seaport facility hosting a dynamic community of forward-looking locators; and The UDENNA Tower Corp., a prime commercial location in Bonifacio Global City, where the company’s headquarters is located.
Udenna, through Global Gateway Corp., will build a resort, casino, logistics hub, and a central business district in Clark.
Dito Telecommunity Corp., formerly Mislatel, received its certificate of public convenience and necessity in July 2019.
Dennis is third generation of a family of entrepreneurs based in Davao. His grandparents were into the selling of bread and fishing equipment. His parents initially traded in copra and then expanded into a number of other businesses, including mining. It is in mining where the family literally struck gold.
The future taipan went to Manila’s De La Salle University for his business management degree which he obtained in 1993.
Dennis wanted to be Mindanao’s oil kingpin. He leaped into it, starting with only eight people and small terminal with a capacity of six million barrels. He thought of branding his oil. “Gas Boy”? “Gasco”? Baduy sneered an ad man. So Dennis offered an ad executive P30,000 to think of a name and a logo. That is now Phoenix Petroleum. It has a catchy slogan: “Phoenix Fuels Life.”
On July 11, 2007, PNX listed in the stock market. The stock price easily doubled, reaching a high of P13.36 per share by the third and fourth quarter. In 2019, Phoenix’s valuation rose to P17.3 billion before settling at P15.7 billion on Aug. 20 at P12.32 per share.
Phoenix has now more than 630 retail stations nationwide, plus 10 under construction, becoming third largest among the local oil companies.