EastWest sets P18.50-23.50 IPO price
Business World
Top Story
April 10, 2012

EAST WEST Banking Corp., which is seeking to list on the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) next month, has revised its price guidance to a range of P18.50-23.50, an underwriter said.

EastWest, the banking unit of Gotianun-led Filinvest Development Corp., said the price range was equivalent to a base initial public offering (IPO) size of P4.54-5.77 billion.

It had earlier announced plans to list up to 245.32 million shares -- with a 15% overallotment option of 36.80 million common shares -- at P23.50 per on the exchange's first board on May 7 following an April 20-26 offer period.

"[The price range] came about a result of a book-building process, based on initial feedback and discussions from institutional investors, both foreign and local," Pamela Louise Q. Victoriano, Unicapital corporate finance manager, told reporters at the sidelines of an investor briefing.

Price-setting has been scheduled for April 19.

"A significant portion of the final price could be dictated by the foreign investors, as 70% of the issue will be from the foreign portion," added Ricardo L. Fernandez, Unicapital president.

Bank officials said at the briefing that they planned to grow the firm's branch network.

"We will execute a growth strategy to open 350 branches in three years and make EastWest among the top-tier banks in the country," said Renato K. De Borja, Jr., EastWest chief finance officer during the investors' briefing.

He said 100 branches were up for launching this year alone. 

"Specific site branches have already been identified and approved, with a majority of these already under construction," added Ivy B. Uy, EastWest senior vice-president and retail banking and operations deputy head.

EastWest had 144 branches nationwide as of March, 22 of which were opened this year.

"We will be on the lookout for potential acquisitions that can add value to the bank and shareholders. We are looking at a lot of possibilities," Mr. Borja added.

Proceeds from the EastWest's IPO -- the first bank IPO in eight years, according to Unicapital -- will go to the payment of branch licenses, branch network expansion, information technology infrastructure implementations, and for general corporate purposes. -- F. J. G. de la Fuente