BDO eyes organic growth, denies bidding for PNB

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04:59 PM December 13th, 2012

By: Doris C. Dumlao, December 13th, 2012 04:59 PM

MANILA, Philippines—Banco de Oro Unibank is veering toward organic growth after rapidly expanding through a series of mergers and acquisitions for most of the last decade.

BDO chairperson Teresita Sy-Coson and BDO president Nestor Tan told reporters late Wednesday that the bank was not making a counter-offer to acquire Philippine National Bank.

Bank of the Philippine Islands is in talks with the Lucio Tan group to take over PNB, a prospective transaction that will turn it into the biggest bank, slightly edging out BDO.

“Once branching is opened up, sometimes it’s better to grow organically because when you reach a size like ours, our growth is almost equivalent to a size of a medium-sized bank. So, that year we need to grow is the same amount we need to integrate,” Tan said.

Every year, Tan said, opens about 40-50 new branches except last year, when it did not have such licenses to open. For next year, Tan said BDO would open 45 new branches early in the year while further branch openings would depend on market demand.

“We have 45 in the pipeline. That should be completed by my estimate in first quarter next year. We’ll add more after that, depending on need,” Tan said.

Most of the branches to be added will come from the Rural Bank of San Juan network, which BDO took over earlier this year. The bank, the country’s largest lender, currently has a total of about 750 branches.

Asked whether BDO was still going after Export and Industry Bank, Tan said: “We don’t know. Everything depends on the terms. Right now, there’s nothing yet. We’re not counting on it.”

Asked about prospects for loan growth next year, Tan said it would likely be at about the mid-teen level—the same pace as this year or maybe a bit slower. In the first nine months of this year, BDO expanded its gross loan book by 17 percent to P724 billion.

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