PBCom buys out Laguna-based rural bank

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Listed Philippine Bank of Communications (PBCom) has acquired a Laguna-based bank in a bid to diversify its presence in the rural areas.

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PBCom disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Wednesday that it has acquired all of the outstanding capital stock of the Rural Bank of Nagcarlan Inc.

“The acquisition of the Rural Bank is in line with PBCOM’s plans to expand its market reach and engage in countryside lending,” PBCom told the local bourse.

The Rural Bank of Nagcarlan Inc. is a Laguna-based rural bank that has six branches. The acquisition is subject to Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas approval, the disclosure noted. No further details were disclosed.

Formerly led by business tycoon Roberto Ongpin, PBCom is now chaired by Ongpin’s nephew, Eric Recto.

Early last year, Ongpin resigned as director and co-chairman of PBCom, which was immediately followed by his decision to sell his entire stake in the listed bank to Recto.

Specifically, the former trade minister sold via a special block sale transacted in the local bourse approximately six million common and 15 million preferred shares of PBCom, representing a 12.45-percent stake in the bank.

PBCom’s earlier disclosure to the stock exchange showed Ongpin sold to Recto the aforementioned shares at a discounted price of P40 apiece or a total of P859.61 million.

“Since I have made public my criticism of the Monetary Board action in deferring my election to the board of PBCom, I believe that it is not sufficient that I only resign all of my positions in the bank but dispose of my shareholdings as well,” Ongpin said in a statement after leaving the bank.

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