PNB looking to raise P100 billion via bonds

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PHILIPPINE National Bank (PNB) plans to raise as much as P100 billion in fresh capital through several bond offerings this year.

In a disclosure on Friday, the listed lender said its board of directors has set up a peso bond and commercial paper program worth P100 billion “to be issued in one or more tranches.”

The program was set up as rules implemented by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) late last year now allows local lenders to tap the capital markets through bond issuances without securing prior regulatory approval.

BSP officials have said lenders have been actively raising additional funding to meet higher capital and liquidity requirements, as well as to support expansion plans.

PNB raised $300 million by offering medium-term notes in April 2018, which the bank said will be used for its “general corporate purposes.”

In September, the bank owned by Lucio C. Tan said it will consolidate its thrift unit PNB Savings Bank with its commercial bank operations. The move is expected to widen the parent bank’s exposure to retail and small business clients.

The merger still needs to be cleared by the BSP, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Bureau of the Internal Revenue. This will also expand PNB’s network to 707 branches versus 644 as of end-August.

PNB, the fifth-biggest lender in the country, yielded a P7.5 billion net income from January-September, which is 67% higher from the comparable period in 2017.

The big bank also saw a change of leadership late November, with Jose Arnulfo “Wick” A. Veloso stepping in as the new president and chief executive officer of PNB after the retirement of Reynaldo A. Maclang.

Shares in PNB ended at P44.50 on Friday, up 0.50% from the previous day’s finish. — Melissa Luz T. Lopez