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Philippine Tycoon’s Empire Debt in Focus After Default Scare

  • Liabilities at Uy’s firms doubled to some $4.6 billion in 2020
  • Udenna said this week it settled debt matter with creditors
Dennis Uy

Dennis Uy

Photographer: Veejay Villafranca/Bloomberg

A dispute over a mere $4 million debt payment involving a Philippine conglomerate is flagging broader concerns about the group’s rapid borrowing in recent years, just as growing threats to the global economy prompt rising risks of nonpayment.

Dennis Uy, an oil trader from the southern city of Davao who counts former president Rodrigo Duterte as a family friend, built a business empire spanning oil, shipping, casinos and telecommunications. That rapid expansion was financed by borrowing that’s now in the spotlight.