REGULATORY

BPI-RBank Merger OK’d By Regulator

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By Brix Lelis

THE Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) has cleared the proposed merger between Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and Gokongwei-led Robinsons Bank Corp. (RBC), with BPI as the surviving entity.

“Please be advised that [the] Bank of the Philippine Islands received on September 13, 2023 the signed decision of the Philippine Competition Commission clearing the proposed merger between the bank and Robinsons Bank Corporation,” BPI said in a disclosure on Friday.

“Upon careful review of the findings and recommendation of the Mergers and Acquisitions Office and the parties’ submissions, the Commission finds that the transaction will not likely result in substantial lessening of competition,” the PCC said in its decision.

“Although BPI is one of the largest banks in the country, its post-transaction market share is insufficient to substantially lessen market competition,” it added. “The presence of the remaining market players, including bigger banks, poses sufficient competitive pressure on the surviving entity.”

BPI is now waiting for the approval of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas before the merger can proceed.

The bank said the “merger shall become effective on the first day of the calendar quarter following the SEC’s issuance of the certificate of merger.”

Earlier this year, stockholders representing at least two-thirds of BPI’s outstanding shares authorized the merger between the two financial institutions, with BPI as the surviving bank.

“The proposed merger will unlock various synergies across several products and service platforms [and] expand the customer and deposit base of both banks through the merged entity,” BPI said.

It added that the merger would also “enhance the overall banking experience of RBC customers” through BPI’s “expertise and network.”

BPI’s shares improved by 40 centavos, or 0.36 per cent, to close at P110 apiece on Friday amid a 1.32-per cent downturn for the benchmark Philippine Stock Exchange index.

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