Robinsons Bank eyes PSE listing

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ROBINSONS BANK Corp. is eyeing to go public within the next four years as part of its plan to scale up its operations to become a universal bank.

In an interview, Robinsons Bank President Elfren Antonio S. Sarte said the Gokongwei-led bank is looking at being listed on the local bourse between 2021 and 2023.

“We’re still waiting for the approval from the BSP (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) for the increase in our authorized capital stock. Then we will head to the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) for filing the increase,” he told BusinessWorld on Friday.

Last year, the lender sought for approval from regulators to increase its capital stock to P27 billion from the current P15 billion.

The Gokongwei group injected additional capital of P3 billion into the bank in July, broken into P1.8 billion from JG Summit Holdings, Inc. and another P1.2 billion from Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc.

“[The listing] is part of our plan since the objective is for a universal bank license in the future,” the bank president said.

To be granted unibank status, Robinsons Bank has to beef up its capital to meet the P20-billion requirement set by the BSP, which can be achieved through an initial public offering, a stock rights offer, or a strategic partnership.

Being a universal lender will allow the bank to offer more products and services to its clients.

“Favorable market conditions will be part of the consideration for listing, but also important is the bank balance sheet and financial performance,” Mr. Sarte said. “[It should] be strong enough to attract the investing public to the bank.”

Robinsons Bank set its profit guidance for the whole year at P700 million, higher than the P500-million guidance in 2018.

“Of course, loans will drive our income for this year… Mostly, consumer loans, which we have been growing double-digit continuously,” Mr. Sarte added.

However, he noted that the lender was not able to meet the 2018 profit target because of higher interest rates and additional taxes due to the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion enacted last year.

Robinsons Bank is licensed as a commercial lender and is the 19th biggest in the industry in asset terms as of September with P113.69 billion. — Karl Angelo N. Vidal