East West’s acquisition of PBCom car loan portfolio gets PCC nod

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THE Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has given East West Banking Corp. the green light to acquire the car loan portfolio of Philippine Bank of Communications (PBCom).

“In a Commission Decision issued on June 18, the competition authority found the asset acquisition, in particular the auto loan portfolio, will not likely result in the substantial lessening of competition in the auto loan market,” the PCC said in a statement posted on its website.

Under the deal, East West will buy part of PBCom’s auto loan receivables, specifically limited to dealership-generated accounts.

The PCC said the transaction will “not likely result in any significant change in market structure, and after the transaction, there is sufficient competitive constraints from other banks offering the same loan types and leases.”

PBCom was the 20th biggest bank in the country with assets amounting to P104.63 billion as of end-2018. The lender entered the auto loan industry in 2012 alongside home loans. As of end-2018, PBCom’s total auto loan portfolio stood at P5.77 billion, lower than almost P6 billion recorded in 2017.

In 2014, retail tycoon Lucio L. Co bought a stake in PBCom for nearly P6 billion, making Puregold the bank’s biggest single shareholder.

EastWest Bank’s acquisition of PBCom’s auto loans business will strengthen its position in the credit business. The Gotianun-led bank was the 11th biggest lender in terms of net loans with P214.38 billion as of end-2018. — K.A.N.Vidal