• Robinsons Bank to bid for UCPB

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    ROBINSONS Bank Corp. is going for the controlling stake in United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) that the government is auctioning off in September.

    The deal is valued at P16.1 billion.

    “It’s a competitive situation. We’ll put the assessment into bid,” Lance Gokongwei, president and chief operating officer of conglomerate JG Summit Holdings Inc., told reporters after company’s annual stockholders’ meeting late Wednesday.

    Robinsons Bank, a unit of JG Summit, already has the bid documents, Gokongwei said.

    Asked if the Gokongwei group are in talks with possible partners over the UCPB transaction, the JG Summit president said: “We’re always in talks with many, many people. I just actually got the bid documents.”
    On top of paying for government’s 73.9­percent stake in UCPB, estimated at P1.1 billion, the winning bidder is required to infuse at least P15 billion in fresh capital.

    Robinsons Bank is by far the only bank that openly revealed its intention to bid for UCPB.

    Other banks that have expressed interest in the state-controlled UCPB are EastWest Bank, Security Bank Corp., Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., BDO Unibank Inc., and Union Bank of the Philippines.

    The qualifying documents are expected to be in from June 2 to 7, and those that qualified have until September 18 to make a bid for UCPB.

    Selling the government’s stake in the bank stemmed from the two executive orders (EO), delineating the guidelines on using the coco levy fund, signed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd.

    EO 179 and EO 180 mandated the agencies concerned to take account of the coco levy assets for privatization and draft the blueprint on developing the coconut industry by using the proceeds from the sale of coco levy assets via the state’s shareholdings in UCPB.

    Aside from bidding for UCPB, Robinsons Bank is seeking to grow its network and close 2015 with 120 branches from 105.

    “We’re still a small player, clearly we have to strengthen the infra and the management team. We have the plan 2020 which will grow our assets to four-fold from the P50 billion in assets currently,” Gokongwei said.

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