Is RCBC seeking merger with another bank?

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Emeterio Sd. Perez

The last time the common shares of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) traded below P60 apiece was on May 23 when the stock opened at its session’s low of P58.60 and closed at P59.95. RCBC’s share price peaked during trading at P61.05 per share from which it did not go down again.

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Flashback: On May 3, the number of RCBC common shares traded totalled 2.263 million. In each of the five trading sessions during the month, the stock traded more than one million shares – 1.026 million on May 8; 1.654 million on May 9; 1.648 million on May 18; 1.197 million on May 22; and 1.616 million on May 23.

Is something cooking inside the boardroom of RCBC? Does the rumor that the bank was about to merge with another bank have something to do with the accumulation of the bank’s shares by certain stockholders?

RCBC belongs to the Yuchengco group of companies through Pan Malayan Management and Investment Corp., which, as of March 31 owned 594.248 million RCBC shares, or 42.45 percent.

Executive compensation

Gil A. Buenaventura is RCBC’s president and chief executive officer. This year, he is one of the bank’s five highest-paid executives, along with three senior executive vice presidents (SVPs), namely, Redentor C. Bancod, John G. Deveras and Chester Y. Luy.

In 2016, Buenaventura was also among RCBC’s five biggest earners, but along with Bancod and Deveras, are both SVPs. Joining him last year were Michaelangelo R. Aguilar, executive vice president; and Emmanuel T. Narciso, first senior vice president.

Based on RCBC’s estimate, Buenaventura, Bancod, Deveras, Luy and Narciso would be paid in 2017 a total of P74.534 million, divided into P55.90 million in aggregate compensation and bonuses of P18.634 million.

Last year, RCBC paid Buenaventura, Bancod, Deveras, Aguilar and Narciso a total of P60.310 million, of which P45.728 million was aggregate compensation. In addition, as a group, they received bonuses of P14.582 million.

Full disclosure

Do listed companies report the true and exact compensation of their top executives?

The answer may vary. Yet, it is up to the owners and management of companies, pretending to be listed and at the same time public, to report how much they actually paid their top managers, particularly the five highest-paid executives.

Due Diligencer has been comparing the regular income taxes paid by the five most highly compensated executives of listed companies with their pays and perks as reported on filings. The results showed astounding results. Lorenzo V. Tan (LVT), who was RCBC president in 2015, was No. 47 in the top 500 income taxpayers in 2014, topping his namesake businessman Lucio Chua Tan (LCT) who was No. 130. The latter is a director of Philippine National Bank, one of the companies belonging to the LT Group which he owns.

While RCBC’s former president paid an income tax of P26,725,296 in 2014 as of Jan. 14, 2016, the amount dwarfed that of Lucio Tan, the tycoon, whose income tax amounted to P16,216,286. These payments were based on Due Diligencer’s estimate of their taxable income of P83,625,925 (LVT) and P50,785,268 (LCT), respectively.

Due Diligencer’s take

As it did in the past, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) denied the public a view of the taxable income of the top 500 taxpayers. For reasons known only to its tax experts, it came out with a five-column alphabetical table that did not include the taxable income of these big income earners.

The BIR must tell the public who paid the correct taxes and how much they paid the government. By doing so, it would justify its role as one the government’s top revenue collectors, along with the Bureau of Customs. Both agencies should be transparent in their dealings with taxpayers.

In Congress, certain legislators are helping the BIR increase its collections even if their efforts are directed more against the poor than against the rich. These lawmakers do not even have research data to back up their proposed legislation. Who buys all those canned goods? Just asking.

esdperez@gmail.com

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