September 07, 2005
Banco de Oro Tries Again With Equitable
Banco de Oro, having purchased the Go family's 24.8% stake in Equitable-PCI Bank in August, has indicated it intends to take another run at acquiring the government's 38% stake in EBC and merging the two banks. BDO last tried to acquire a stake from the SSS in 2003, but was rebuffed by a court challenge which is still ongoing. Not known is how BDO intends to overcome this issue, or how it plans to budge the SSS from its asinine insistence that it can only sell its shares for PHP92 each, versus the PHP49 traded price.
If successful, a merged BDO-EBC would likely be the 2nd-largest bank in the Philippines, just topping BPI but behind Metrobank. Look for BPI to take steps to maintain its lead in the event this deal becomes a reality.