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BPI-RBC merger may take effect this year


BANK of the Philippine Islands’ (BPI) merger with Robinsons Bank Corp. (RBC) could take effect earlier than estimated as both parties expect to get all the necessary regulatory approvals within the year.

The listed lender’s merger with Robinsons Bank could be finalized as early as Oct. 1, earlier than the original estimate of Jan. 1, 2024, BPI President and Chief Executive Officer Jose Teodoro “TG” K. Limcaoco told BusinessWorld on the sidelines of a central bank event last week.

“We’ve given ourselves, optimistically, six months. So if that’s the case, we’ll look at Oct. 1,” he said.

Mr. Limcaoco said though unlikely, the merger could even take effect as early as July 1 if the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC), and the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) approve it within the first semester.

“If we get the approval in July, August, or September, then it will be Oct. 1. If we get the approval in April or May, which I don’t think we will get, then it could be July 1,” he said.

Both banks are only waiting for the approvals from these regulators as all in-company processes have been completed, Mr. Limcaoco added.

“We’ve done everything on our side for the approvals from our shareholders. So now we’re just waiting for regulatory approval. It takes a while — we need to go to PCC, we need to go to BSP, we need to go to SEC,” he said.

“We have filed all the regulatory licenses with the Philippine Competition Commission, the SEC, BSP, so we expect to hopefully get the approval within the year,” Robinsons Bank Chief Executive Officer Elfren Antonio S. Sarte also told BusinessWorld on the sidelines of the same event last week.

Under the merger, which was announced in October 2022, BPI will be the surviving entity. Upon its closing, RBC’s shareholders will hold approximately 6% of the resulting outstanding capital stock of BPI.

Through the merger, BPI will also be taking over Robinsons Bank’s 20% stake in digital lender GoTyme Bank, a joint venture between the Gokongwei Group and Tyme. GoTyme Bank was one of the six entities granted an online banking license by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

Shareholders of BPI owning 79.69% of total outstanding stocks already approved the planned merger at a special stockholders’ meeting on Jan. 17.

BPI earlier said it expects its net income to climb by 5-6% and its revenues to rise by around 7% once the deal with RBC takes effect.

The Ayala-led bank booked an attributable net profit of P39.605 billion in 2022, 65.85% higher than the P23.88 billion posted the previous year, driven by strong loan growth, higher net interest margins and lower provisions.

BPI’s shares rose by 10 centavos or 0.1% to end at P104.10 apiece on Thursday. — A.M.C. Sy

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