UCPB wants new investor as soon as possible
MANILA, Philippines – United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) hopes to welcome a new major investor "as early as possible" to raise fresh capital for the first time since the state took control of the lender in 1986.
"We want it as early as possible because we've been running with insufficient capital since 1986. Stake sale will be 67% up to a little over 90%. This is to raise capital of P15 billion ($314.9 million) to P37 billion ($776.8 million)," Ildefonso Jimenez, UCPB senior vice president and corporate secretary, said on the sidelines of a luncheon in Makati City on Thursday, February 4.
Last October, the Philippine government secured ownership of 72.2% of UCPB shares from business tycoon Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco Jr, which were bought in the 1970s using the controversial coco levy funds.
Jimenez said UCPB is open to both local and foreign investors, "as long as they have a track record in banking or other financial institutions."
The auction of the government’s stake in UCPB had been suspended after the Supreme Court indefinitely restrained the sale of coco levy assets in July 2015.
A total of 12 local and foreign banks as well as private companies expressed interest in the UCPB stake sale.
The local banks include BDO Unibank, Incorporated and East West Banking Corporation.
A Reuters report also said US private equity companies Lone Star Funds and TPG Capital Management, as well as Mitsubishi UFG Financial Group, Incorporated wanted to participate in the auction.
But just last month, Japan’s largest commercial bank, Mitsubishi UFG, agreed to acquire a 20% stake in Security Bank Corporation for P36.94 billion ($782 million).
"There's a bigger, better bank waiting for UCPB. The truth is there are many banks that want to enter our market," Jimenez said.
For the first 9 months of 2015, UCPB reported a 9% increase in net income to P1.99 billion ($41.78 million) from P1.83 billion ($38.41 million) in the same period in 2014.
The increase in net income is due to expanding consumer loans, fee income generation, and trading income, UCPB said.
According to Jimenez, the bank is also expecting higher profit this year as it prepares for a sale.
UCPB has 228 branches and 296 automated teller machines nationwide. – Rappler.com
$1 = P47.64