Lucio Co buys 37.7% of PBCom

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Grocery and logistics magnate Lucio Co made his first venture into the banking business by acquiring shares in Philippine Bank of Communications (PBCom) that will give him as much as a 37.67 percent stake in the post-issuance capital stock
of the bank.

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PBCom’s board of directors at Wednesday’s meeting approved the offer of Co, through his delegated entity Union Equities Inc., to buy as much as P5.9-billion worth of PBCom shares.

Co is acquiring 181.08 million common shares in the listed commercial bank at a discount price of P33 per share. PBCom shares were trading at about P65 apiece on Wednesday. Trading in the shares was halted following the disclosure.

“The subscription of the shares will be effective upon the execution of the subscription agreement and will be subject to the applicable regulatory approvals,” PBCom told the local bourse.

Earlier acquisitions
In April, PBCom agreed to buy out a rural bank with more than 10 branches across the Visayas-Mindanao region, a transaction that will support the listed bank’s expansion in rural areas

Formerly led by tycoon Roberto Ongpin, PBCom previously said it has signed a deal with the controlling stockholders of Banco Dipolog Inc. (BDI) regarding its purchase and acquisition of no less than 90 percent of the outstanding common stock of the latter.

Founded in 1957, BDI was the first bank to open in Dipolog. BDI currently has 11 branches and seven other banking offices located in Mindanao and the Visayas.
A month before that, PBCom also acquired a Laguna-based bank Rural Bank of Nagcarian Inc. in a bid to diversify in rural areas.

Co, who also owns the supermarket chain Puregold Price Club Inc., has also recently bought out liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) market leader Liquigaz Philippines Inc. through its holding conglomerate Cosco Capital Inc.

Under the deal, which is yet to be finalized, Cosco Capital will assume control of the LPG provider while minority partner PR Gaz Inc. will retain a 10-percent stake.

Not included in the Cosco Capital group, PR Gaz is also owned by Co as a separate entity.

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