Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., Japan’s largest lender, withdrew its bid for the government’s stake in United Coconut Planters Bank, because of the temporary restraining order issued by the court last year.
The high tribunal issued a TRO, putting on hold the sale of government’s stake in UCPB, which stopped negotiations with interested investors.
UCPB senior vice president and corporate secretary Ildefonso Jimenez said in a news briefing in Makati Thursday BTMU was one of the major entities that showed interest in the government’s stake in UCPB.
The Japanese bank instead acquired a 20-percent stake in Security Bank Corp. for P37 billion ($782 million), making it the largest investment by a foreign financial institution in the Philippines.
“It just showed how Bank of Tokyo was serious in entering the Philippine market,” Jimenez said. “That 20-percent acquisition in Security Bank could have been about 90 percent for UCPB,” he said.
Jimenez said UCPB would continue to look for available options under the next administration on how to strengthen the bank’s financial standing.
“It looks like a status quo this year because once there is a new administration, it could take another year to keep us moving because the recapitalization of the bank might not be a priority of the new leadership… Maybe in 2017,” Jimenez said.
“[But] if there are other options within the year, we have to do it. We are not giving up. If there is something that is possible within the year, we will go for it,” Jimenez said.
One option, he said, could be the filing of a bill for the recapitalization of the bank under the next Congress.
Jimenez said opportunities in 2017 might be a little different, in terms of the number of banks, both private and foreign, that showed interest to join the UCPB bidding.
Aside from Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, other banks that expressed interest to join the bidding for UCPB stake were EastWest Banking Corp. of the Gotianun group, Security Bank, the Henry Sy-led BDO Unibank Inc., Union Bank of the Philippines of the Aboitiz Group and the Philippine National Bank of tycoon Lucio Tan.
Jimenez said UCPB would need P15 billion to P37 billion to recapitalize it and meet the capital requirements imposed by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
“We are looking at P15 billion to P37 billion based on our financial advisers… it will be somewhere between that range,” he said.