Merger will make BPI the country's largest bank - analyst

Posted at 11/22/2012 9:31 AM | Updated as of 11/22/2012 1:34 PM

MANILA, Philippines (2ND UPDATE) - The directors of Philippine National Bank, Allied Bank and Bank of the Philippine Islands have reportedly approved a three-way merger, a newspaper reported on Thursday. 

BusinessMirror reported that PNB majority owner Lucio Tan obtained board approval to proceed with the merger which would allow him to own 20% of BPI. 

Tan earlier received regulatory approval to merge PNB with Allied Bank, which he also owns. The combined assets of the three-way merger are pegged at $33 billion.

However, PNB and BPI said on Thursday that "at this point there is no other matter that would require disclosure." 

The Philippine Stock Exchange on Thursday morning lifted the 1-day trading halt on shares of PNB and BPI.

BPI jumped as much as 7.4 percent and PNB rose as much as 6.1 percent in early trades, pushing the financial sector sub-index up 2.4 percent.

A banking analyst said the merger will make BPI the Philippines' largest lender by assets. 

"Acquiring PNB, especially if they will acquire the PNB-Allied institution, will catapult BPI into market leadership. That's P1.4 trillion in assets and 1,300 to 1,400 branches so that would allow BPI to become number 1 in terms of size and in terms of branch networks," ND Fernandez, analyst at Wealth Securities, told ANC.

On Wednesday, BPI confirmed it was in discussions with the Lucio Tan group for a possible acquisition of a stake in PNB. 

Reuters earlier reported the talks between the country's third and sixth largest banks by assets involve a share swap that would give the Lucio Tan group a 20% stake in BPI, while the Ayala group would become the single largest shareholder of PNB. - With ANC and Reuters