East West Bank plans P5.76-billion IPO
Philippine Star
Written by Zinnia B. Dela Peņa

MANILA, Philippines - Buoyed by a bullish stock market, Gotianun-led East West Banking Corp. is seeking to raise around P5.76 billion through a primary and secondary offering of its shares to bankroll its expansion.

Based on its application filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday, EastWest Bank said it is planning to offer up to 245.316 million common shares at a maximum price of P23.50 each share.

Of the total, up to 141.056 million new shares will issued by way of a primary offer to raise as much as P3.31 billion. The balance of 104,259 million shares will be sold by parent firm First Development Corp. to raise around P2.45 billion.

The bank is also setting aside up to 36.797 million shares, coming from the shares of the selling shareholder, for the overallotment option.

More than half of the offer shares, or up to 171.72 million shares, will be sold overseas while 73.594 million shares will be issued to the domestic market.

Proceeds from the IPO will be used for the payment of bank branch licenses, the expansion of its branch network and the implementation of IT projects, among others.

EastWest Bank has tapped Deutsche Bank AG and JP Morgan Securities as international lead managers while Unicapital Inc. will serve as the domestic lead underwriter.

It ranked 17th among the country's 38 commercial and universal banks in terms of total assets as of Sept. 30, 2011.

As of end-December last year, EastWest Bank had a network of 122 branches, including 77 branches strategically located in Metro Manila.

EastWest Bank chairman Jonathan said the bank is keen on its planned initial public offering (IPO).

"The IPO is one of the avenues that we are exploring to share the development of the bank with the public. It will depend on market conditions and it is under study," he added.

He added that the bank would continue to improve its operations in order to raise its its standing in the domestic banking industry.

"Yes, just like bank we want to be on top," Gotianun added.

EastWest bank opened its doors to the public in 1994 and is a subsidiary of the publicly-held Filinvest Development Corp. of the Gotianun family.