PNB to bid for UCPB
MANILA, Philippines – Lucio Tan-owned Philippine National Bank (PNB) is looking at United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) and two other smaller lenders for possible acquisition.
The bank's board had issued a resolution directing the management to look into UCPB, PNB president and COO Reynalco Maclang told reporters on the sidelines of the LT Group Inc. annual stockholders' meeting Monday, June 9.
“If [UPCB] will be a positive addition to the bank then we will aggressively bid for it,” Maclang said.
The government is preparing to auction off this year its controlling interest in UPCB to enable the bank to recapitalize.
Maclang expects the terms of reference of the bidding to be released Tuesday, June 10, but PNB was already studying UCPB's financial reports, he added.
Maclang said the possible acquisition would hasten the growth of the bank.
Other local banks that previously expressed interest in bidding for the government’s stake in UPCB include Sy-owned BDO Unibank Inc., Aboitiz-led Union Bank of the Philippines, and Gotianun-controlled East West Banking Corporation.
In July 2013, the Supreme Court ruled with finality that the government owned the UPCB shares held by businessman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco Jr., saying these were bought using public funds and therefore owned by the state.
The shares, representing 10% of UCPB (diluted to around 7%), were given to Cojuangco as “compensation” for negotiating the acquisition by the Philippine Coconut Authority of a 72.2% stake in the bank.
Without disclosing details, Maclang said there were also two thrift banks in Metro Manila that PNB was looking to acquire.
PNB, he noted, was conducting due diligence, which would be completed by third quarter this year. The two thrift banks will be bought through negotiated sale.
Maclang, meanwhile, clarified that PNB was not in talks with Malaysian bank CIMB for possible merger.
“We are not in talks with CIMB or any other foreign banks. At the moment, we are not thinking of merging with other foreign banks,” Maclang said.