EastWest eyes 350 new branches
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - East West Banking Corp. said it plans to open 350 new branches in the next three years in its bid to become one of the biggest universal banks in the Philippines. As of end-March this year, its total branch network stood at 144.

In a presentation, EastWest Bank chairman Jonathan T. Gotianum said while their first preference is organic growth. "But we are always in the lookout for possible acquisitions."

EastWest Bank earlier revealed that it has set at P18.50 – P23.50 the price range of its initial public offering (IPO). It will be the first bank listing in the past eight years. EastWest Bank plans to sell 245.32 million common shares in the IPO, including 36.8 million in overallotment options. Offer period will be from April 20 to 26.

Proceeds from the IPO will be used for expenditures of its branch and ATM expansion, information technology infrastructure, and other basic banking expenditures.

In the past three years, the commercial bank of the Gotianun family grew its net income by an average 65 percent. From P620 million in 2009, it grew to P1.18 billion the following year, to P1.73 billion last year.

Gotianum said the bank was "still on track within our plans for 2012."

"We have maintained our core income stream. Branches will be opened within restricted areas where there is more business, but the expansion pace will be three times in the unrestricted areas," he added.