BIZ BUZZ: Silicon Valley, Pampanga | Inquirer Business

BIZ BUZZ: Silicon Valley, Pampanga

/ 05:12 AM February 18, 2022

Billionaire Dennis Anthony H. Uy made a fortune turning a vision for affordable home fiber internet services into reality.

With Converge ICT Solutions going nationwide, Uy is circling back to Angeles City in Pampanga for his next big venture, the transformation of his hometown into the country’s version of Silicon Valley.

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“I’m planning to put up the biggest tech city in the country,” Uy announced during a recent meeting organized by the Rotary Club of Makati.

Uy said he already bought the land and had started to develop the sprawling complex, which will spill over into the adjacent municipality of Mexico.

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He will build a 20,000 square meter data center, a hospital, business process outsourcing buildings, a school, villas, parks, hotels and an e-games arena.

At the center of the planned economic zone development will be Converge’s new headquarters.

A lifelong technoprenuer, Uy has the rare ability to read and ride on technology trends—at times making a quick exit when necessary. He did this in the early 1990s when he sold his Betamax business, which was facing obsolescence, and shifted gears to cable and eventually fiber, planting the seeds for what would become Converge.

His tech city in Pampanga would realize a dream to raise the country’s profile and become a true technology hub. To mark his expansion in satellite services, Uy said he plans to fire up an earth station—the ground component of a satellite network—within the complex next week.

“It’s not just the data center but I will put up a satellite hub for Asia. So satellite operators, we will host them in that area, too,” Uy said.

Above all, the billionaire said he wanted to give future entrepreneurs and engineers opportunities he did not have when he was starting out.

Uy drew inspiration from the thriving culture of innovation he witnessed while touring Silicon Valley’s iconic technology companies. He also noticed that many of the senior information technology staff were Filipinos who migrated to find better opportunities abroad.

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“In Silicon Valley, there is an innovation lab to cultivate the ideas of young entrepreneurs and students,” Uy said.

“I want to do the same: to build an ecosystem with innovation and technology and I want to produce technology-minded students and business people that know the direction of technology and create solutions for the future,” he added.

—Miguel R. Camus

Stalled listing

Soon after announcing on Wednesday that its stock market listing would be delayed by one day to sort out “voluminous” market demand, Citicore Energy Real Estate Investment Trust Corp. (CREIT) had to retract its statement to clarify that the listing would instead happen early next week, no later than Feb. 22.

The original listing schedule for the country’s first renewable energy-themed real estate investment trust (REIT) was Feb. 17.

It turned out that one extra day isn’t enough for CREIT and its underwriters to process “voluminous” orders.

Almost 20,000 investors—double that seen in recent equity deals at the local bourse—applied for initial public offering (IPO) shares, based on CREIT’s latest advisory to the local bourse. This surge in volume affected the timely completion of the lodgement of the IPO shares with the Philippine Depository and Trust Corp., making it impossible to stick to the original schedule.

At the local small investor (LSI) tranche—the segment that applied through the Philippine Stock Exchange Electronic Allocation System online booking system—the offering generated orders for 270.745 million shares, or about 1.4 times the allotment of 218.182 million shares.

Note that LSIs had been allowed to apply for as much as P1 million worth of CREIT’s offer shares, up from the typical maximum level of P100,000. Due to the oversubscription, some LSIs will have to be refunded for the excess amount. Based on some retail investors’ anecdotes, those who subscribed to no more than P500,000 worth of shares got their full allotment.

Based on the distribution mechanism, fully paid applications were processed by prioritizing smaller subscriptions ahead of those with larger subscriptions and subsequently, on a first-come, first-served basis.

CREIT had sold shares at P2.55 each, finalizing the size of its stock market debut at P6.39 billion. A reduction in the number of offer shares also contributed to the oversubscription, along with high dividend yields expected from this pioneering REIT: 7 percent for 2022 and 7.4 percent for 2023—the highest yields offered by a local REIT so far.

—Doris Dumlao-Abadilla
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TAGS: Citicore Energy Real Estate Investment Trust Corp. (CREIT), Converge ICT Solutions, Dennis Anthony H. Uy
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