BPI is not interested in a foreign partner



Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) – July 19, 2021 – 12:00 am

MANILA, Philippines – The Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), headed by Ayala, has no plans to recruit a foreign strategic partner and tap the debt or capital markets for additional financing this year.

BPI President and CEO Jose Teodoro “TG” Limcaoco told STAR that the bank is not currently considering entering into a strategic partnership with foreign banks.

“No, not in our maps. Obviously, we have a lot of foreign investors who bought our bank, ”Limcaoco replied when asked if the 169-year-old bank was following other Philippine banks that had recruited a foreign strategic partner.

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC), led by Yuchengco, is expected to receive 4.48 billion pesos from Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. (SMBC) based in Tokyo in exchange for a nearly five percent stake in the bank. Other foreign investors in RCBC include Cathay Financial Holdings Co. of Taiwan and International Finance Corp of the World Bank.

On the other hand, the Japanese group Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG) injected 36.9 billion pesos in exchange for a 20% stake in Security Bank Corp. in April 2016.

“In terms of a strategic partner, the way Security Bank has taken or RCBC has taken in recent times, nothing like it,” Limcaoco said.

Likewise, he said BPI has no plans to tap the debt or capital markets this year.

“Have we planned any issues on the financial markets? No, we don’t. Not this year. The bank is extremely liquid, ”Limcaoco said.

The last time BPI appealed to the debt market was in August of last year, raising 21.5 billion pesos from the issuance of the very first COVID Action Response (CARE) bonds to help micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to recover from the impact of the crisis. Covid pandemic19.

In total, the listed bank has raised 70.71 billion pesos under its 100 billion peso bond and commercial paper program. This includes the 15.32 billion pesos through the issuance of two-year peso fixed rate bonds in January 2020 and 33.89 billion pesos in March 2019.

In the offshore debt market, BPI raised $ 300 million in September 2019, becoming the first Philippine bank to issue ASEAN green bonds denominated in dollars. It also raised 100 million Swiss francs through its first ASEAN green bond issue to fund projects eligible for greening.

“There’s a lot of liquidity with the bank, so we don’t need to fundraise in the capital markets. Obviously, we are continuing our push for deposits. But the transactions in the capital market, none, ”Limcaoco said.

Despite the aggressive 200 basis point cut that brought the benchmark interest rate to an all-time low of 2%, bank lending remained on the decline, falling 4% in May from 5% in April, the credit activity remained moderate.

“The BSP has been very accommodating and has kept interest rates low. Obviously, loan growth is so timid, ”Limcaoco said.

The head of BPI also said that BPI envisions zero to low single digit levels in terms of credit growth for this year.

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