Hanjin creditors eye all options, 'will be alright,' says BPI president

Cathy Yang, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 11 2019 09:49 AM

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MANILA -- Five Philippine banks seeking to cover some $412 million in combined loans to shipbuilder Hanjin are looking at "all kinds of alternatives," including talking to strategic investors, the head of one of the lenders said Friday.

The banks are "in close contact with one another" and "will do what's best for the banking industry and for the country," Bank of the Philippine Islands president Cezar Consing said.

Hanjin filed a petition for rehabilitation before the courts, asking for support "to handle the issue with creditor banks," said Deputy Governor and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas officer in charge Diwa Guinigundo.

The combined exposure of the Filipino lenders is "very, very negligible" compared to the country total loans and total FCDU or foreign currency deposit unit loans, Guinigundo said.

"This is something that the banks can handle. We have provisions for this sort of thing," Consing told ANC. He said BPI had the smallest exposure to Hanjin compared to the other creditors.

The Subic-based shipbuilder's assets are "in excess" of its liabilities, Consing said.

"I think we will be alright. We're actually talking about all kinds of alternatives now. It will be premature to be talk about specifics," he said.

The banks "have not ruled out" talking to strategic investors, Consing said in response to a question.

"This is probably going to take a few months," Consing said, when asked for a timeline to resolve the issue.

The Bangko Sentral is in contact with the 5 banks and "in due time, appropriate announcements will be made," Guinigundo told ANC.

"What we need to do is stay on the ground and determine the actual extent of the exposure," Guinigundo said, adding the rehabilitation could also affect Hanjin's suppliers and other business linkages.