Montinola on BPI-PNB merger: It's the seller's choice

Posted at 11/29/12 1:48 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) says it has made its offer to acquire Philippine National Bank, so the ball is now in tycoon Lucio Tan's court. 

BPI last week confirmed it is in talks with the Lucio Tan group for a possible merger with PNB. It has not provided additional information since, just saying the bank's board has not yet approved the deal, dismissing newspaper reports. 

BPI chief executive officer Aurelio Montinola remained mum about the merger talks, only dropping hints on how far it has gone. 

"Depending on the positions of the banks, the central bank encourages consoidation so if such happens then it's a good idea for the banking industry," Montinola told reporters on Wednesday. 

"As you know BPI has always good fundamentals, the industry is good. I've always said in the acquisition game, it's the seller's choice," he added. 

Newspaper reports earlier said the deal could involve a share swap that would make BPI the single largest shareholder of PNB, giving Lucio Tan a share in the country's third largest bank. - Report from Lois Calderon, ANC