BPI eyeing fresh dollar bond issuance this year

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BANK OF the Philippine Islands said it is looking at another dollar bond issue.

AYALA-LED Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) will remain “opportunistic” in tapping the dollar bond market this year for its funding requirements, a senior bank official said on Thursday.

“We remain opportunistic in tapping the debt capital markets to supplement our funding requirements. This is still really just as an addition to our core source of funding, which is our strong deposit bases,” BPI Chief Financial Officer Maria Theresa Marcial Javier told reporters on Thursday.

“We will announce the details in due course,” the official said.

“What might be forthcoming is a potential US dollar issue. Most likely this year. We are actually talking to potential arrangers and underwriters so we have not really finalized. So, soon,” Ms. Javier said.

“The size that we are looking at is probably smaller than what we had issued in 2018 — it’s a $600 [million] issue. It’s probably smaller… We’re just looking at some finer points and we will definitely be coming up with the specifics soon,” she said.

In August last year, BPI raised $600 million via five-year senior unsecured fixed-rate debt to maximize its offshore funding flexibility and to broaden its liquidity sources. Those bonds were quoted at 4.25%.

It marked the lender’s maiden issue from its $2-billion medium-term note program unveiled in June last year, as well as its first offshore bond offering.

Meanwhile, BPI hopes to end the year with a net income higher than the P23.33 billion it made last year as it benefits from the low interest rate environment.

“Banks benefitted from lower interest rates in the first semester and we see that we will be sustained in the second semester,” Ms. Javier said. “Second half remains to be promising and hopefully sustain the first half results.”

BPI’s bottom line jumped 24.6% to P13.863 billion in the first semester.

Shares in the bank dropped 0.33% or 30 centavos to end at P90 apiece on Thursday. — Mark T. Amoguis