Pampanga businessman could be next dollar billionaire
Pampanga-based businessman Dennis Anthony Uy could become the country’s next dollar billionaire as his broadband company Converge ICT Solutions Inc. moves forward with a $700 million initial public offering (IPO), said to be the largest in the Philippines.
The deal will accelerate Converge’s goal to cover millions of households across the country with high-speed fiber internet, a segment with significant growth prospects given that it now serves under 5 percent of the country’s population of 100 million people.
A source with direct knowledge of the matter told the Inquirer that Converge is set to file its IPO registration with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The share sale could be launched late in the third quarter or by the fourth quarter of 2020, he said.
The details of the IPO were first reported by Bloomberg News.
“They are one of the fastest growing companies in the sector that has thrived despite the pandemic,” said the source. “More and more people are using broadband. Data use is growing exponentially.”
Uy did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday (July 2).
He told the Inquirer in an interview last May that Converge ICT had increased its subscribers to about 700,000. This placed it well ahead of its goal to double subscribers last year to one million in 2020.
Uy said thousands of new customers came from global outsourcing companies buying home internet for their employees. This was part of a boarder shift to work from home arrangements amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“This is the new normal. You can do your work from home while online and it is faster,” Uy had told the Inquirer.
He said Filipinos were “hungry” for faster and more inexpensive broadband internet.
Converge, which started as a small cable TV operator in Pampanga, is gaining ground against larger rivals. This is partly with the backing last September of a $250 million investment from United States-based Warburg Pincus, one of the world’s largest private equity firms.
The funds bolstered Converge’s $1.8 billion plan to build a nationwide internet backbone in partnership with the likes of South Korea’s KT Corp.
Converge is hoping to capture a third of the country’s 22 million households, Uy had said.
The current rollout includes a $70 million domestic submarine cable with 20 landing stations across the Philippines.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.