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April 12, 2024

BPI CFO hints at dollar bond sale in March

Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) is considering launching its dollar-denominated bond offering in March 2024, earlier than planned, according to its chief finance officer.

BPI CFO and chief sustainability officer Eric Roberto M. Luchangco said the bank is looking for the right market timing.

“If ever we do, it will probably be late in the first quarter so maybe like March. We’re already in February but we’re not yet quite ready to pull the trigger,” the bankero said.

BPI previously announced intentions to secure a minimum of $300 million through the sale of dollar-denominated bonds in the second quarter to refinance debt set to mature in September.

Luchangco suggested a potential adjustment in the bond amount based on market conditions, saying that it might be a size similar to the $300 million the bank is replacing. He emphasized the need for the right timing.

BPI president and CEO Jose Teodoro K. Limcaoco earlier indicated the bank’s flexibility in timing the issuance, contingent upon benchmark rates prevailing in the secondary market.

The bank’s robust financial performance in the past year was highlighted by a 44.3% increase in net income compared to the previous year, reaching P13.1 billion, fueled by revenue growth and reduced loss provisions. The bank’s full-year profit surged 30.5% to P51.7 billion.

BPI Securities Corp. president Haj Narvaez also shared insights on the Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi), anticipating a year-end closure at the 7,500 level driven by corporate earnings amid potential interest rate cuts by the central bank.

Despite the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Eli M. Remolona, Jr.’s earlier statement suggesting an unlikely rate cut in the first half due to inflation risks and strong economic growth, Narvaez remained confident in the market’s performance, foreseeing a turnaround in the second half.

He attributed the market’s sluggish performance in the first half to low liquidity, projecting a notable improvement in liquidity in the latter part of the year, likely attracting foreign interest, particularly towards large-cap stocks.

Narvaez advised investors to focus on large-cap stocks, particularly property-focused groups, as liquidity improves and foreign interest intensifies.