PNB, BPI shares up on merger speculation

By Zinnia B. Dela Peña, The Philippine Star

Posted at May 09 2014 08:13 AM | Updated as of May 09 2014 04:13 PM

MANILA - Speculations regarding a revival of talks between Philippine National Bank (PNB) and Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) caused the share price of the Lucio Tan-owned lender to rise as much as six percent yesterday.

Shares of PNB rose to a high of P94.95 per share before closing up 3.37 percent at P92.

Stock market pundits gobbled up shares of PNB on the back of renewed merger talks. A total of 3.676 million shares valued at P340.72 million changed hands yesterday.

Merger discussions between PNB and BPI collapsed in December 2012 as the Tan-owned bank opted to further grow its business before merging with a much larger company to get the best possible price for its shares.

Under its proposal, BPI would have taken over PNB at a price-to-book value of about 1.6 times.

Had BPI pulled off the acquisition, the merger of the two banks would have created the country’s largest bank, overtaking BDO Unibank and Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co.

Earlier rumors said PNB was also among those being eyed by CIMB Group, Malaysia’s second largest lender by assets, as a potential target following failed negotiations with Bank of Commerce.

PNB, after completing its merger with Allied Banking Corp., is seen as a good potential takeover target. Currently the fourth largest lender in the country, PNB has an extensive distribution network of 656 domestic branches and offices and 859 automated teller machines nationwide as of end of December 2013. It has 80 overseas offices and remains the only domestic bank with the largest global presence across Asia, Europe, Middle East, and North America.

Its consolidated assets expanded to P618.1 billion as of Dec. 31 last year, up 87.2 percent from P330.2 billion.