China Bank to raise up to P50B

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CHINA BANKING Corp. (China Bank) is set to conduct fund-raising activities to expand its business.

In a disclosure to the local bourse on Thursday, the Sy-led China Bank said its board of directors approved a funding program of up to P50 billion through a combination of long-term negotiable certificate of deposit (LTNCD), retail bonds and/or commercial papers.

Like regular time deposits offered by banks, LTNCDs offer higher interest rates. However, LTNCDs cannot be pre-terminated but can be sold on the secondary market, making them “negotiable.”

China Bank said the peso-denominated program will be used to fund the bank’s initiatives and expansion, particularly its lending business.

“This program will be used to fund the bank’s strategic initiatives and expansion, specifically in relation to the expected growth in the lending business,” China Bank’s disclosure to the bourse read.

“This is in line with bank’s intention to be an active participant in the ongoing economic expansion of the country and the government’s infrastructure initiatives.”

Recently, local banks have been conducting various fund-raising activities to expand their operations and beef up their capital buffers.

Earlier this week, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. said it expanded its medium-term note program to $2 billion from the previous $1 billion to raise additional capital.

Last month, UnionBank of the Philippines raised P3 billion from the first tranche of its P20-billion LTNCD program.

China Bank ended 2017 with a P7.4-billion bottom line, 15% higher than the P6.5 billion the lender recorded in 2016, on the back of sustained growth in its core and fee-based businesses.

Latest data from the central bank showed China Bank was the seventh largest bank in the Philippines in asset terms as of September 2017.

Shares in China Bank finished unchanged at P35.10 apiece on Thursday. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal