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Who is businessman Antonio Tiu?


The name of businessman Antonio L. Tiu has been dragged into the controversy surrounding Vice President Jejomar Binay's supposedly ill-gotten wealth, which allegedly includes a 350-hectare estate in Rosario, Batangas estimated to be worth P1.2 billion.

In a Senate investigation on Wednesday, former Makati Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado — a former Binay ally who has admitted to benefiting from corruption in the city's government — accused Tiu of acting as a dummy to cover up the Vice President's ownership of the Rosario property.

TOYM awardee

In several newspaper reports, the 38-year-old Tiu has said he did not come from a wealthy family and did not inherit anything from his parents, but has gone on to acquire well-known food brands such as the Big Chill juice bars and the Sugarhouse franchise. 

Tiu obtained a Masters degree in Commerce specializing in International Finance from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia in 1999, and a BS Commerce major in Management from De La Salle University, Manila in 1996.

He is also a candidate for a Doctorate degree in Public Administration at the University of the Philippines. He was among the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the Philippines for 2011.

After college, Tiu worked in a small company involved in agriculture.

In 1997, he founded AgriNurture, Inc. (ANI), the first agricultural company to be listed in the PSE.

The company was initially involved in the trade of post-harvest agricultural machineries, but later diversified into various agro-commercial businesses including the export of fruits and vegetables to China, Japan and Korea, as well as to the Middle East, North America, Europe and Australia.

ANI’s family of brands now includes FCA (Fresh Choice Always) for fresh and processed wellness food products; La Natural for coconut juice and Nikka for mango nectar and tamarind juices, which are exported to other countries; Sungrown rice; Superfresh and Big Chill for fresh fruit beverages and dessert kiosks; Canecoctions for sugar cane juice; and Cafeteria Verde, Fresh Bar by Big Chill, and C’Verde by Big Chill.

Some of the popular food brands in the ANI group are the bakeshops Sugarhouse and Cheesecake, Etc. It also entered into a master license agreement with Tully’s Coffee International PTE LTD to operate the Seattle-based Tully’s coffee shop in the Philippines.

ANI currently has satellite offices in Australia, Spain and the Netherlands.

Greenergy Holdings Inc.

In 2008, Tiu bought MUSX Corporation (MSC), a company listed in the PSE since 1992. It is primarily engaged in the creation, design, development and manufacture of specialty semiconductor products, which it markets and sells worldwide. Upon his acquisition of the company, Tiu turned it into a holdings firm.

In the latter part of 2010, MSC began venturing into other business opportunities, especially in the field of renewable energy.

In June 22, 2011, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved the company's proposal to change its name to Greenergy Holdings Incorporated.

To expand into renewable energy, Greenergy established the subsidiaries Biomass Holdings, Inc., Winsun Green Ventures Inc., Total Waste Management Recovery System, Inc., and Isabela Alcogas Corporation  in 2012.

Sunchamp

In October last year, Tiu folded the companies Sunchamp Real Estate Development Corp. and The IT Group into the holding firm “to diversify Greenergy's investment portfolio.”

The IT Group specializes in the fields of management consultancy, technology, and outsourcing services.

Sunchamp is a real estate developer engaged in self-sustaining agri-tourism projects. It is the registered owner of the property in Rosario, which ex-Makati Vice Mayor Mercado and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV say is actually owned by the vice president.

Tiu has admitted that Sunchamp owns the property in Batangas, but denied that it is a dummy corporation for Binay. He said that the property is actually an agri-tourism hub and not a hacienda.

He also said that Greenergy is publicly listed in the Philippine Stocks Exchange (PSE) and is not a fly-by-night corporation.

In July of this year, Greenergy acquired a 26-percent stake in ANI to further diversify Greenergy's investment portfolio in terms of “green” projects.

Currently in Spain, Tiu said he is willing to face the next Senate hearing to clear his name and the reputation of his companies. — JDS, GMA News

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