Philippines: BPI to raise $600 million via offshore bond market

MANILA, Philippines — Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) plans to return to the offshore bond market to raise as much as $600 million to refinance maturing debt this year after successfully raising P20.3 billion in the onshore bond market.

In an interview, BPI president and CEO Jose Teodoro “TG” Limcaoco said the bank is looking “at possibly a dollar bond issuance sometime this year.”

“Nothing sure yet, but that’s potentially a dollar bond,” Limcaoco said.

The bank, controlled by the Ayala Group, successfully raised P20.3 billion to boost its lending portfolio for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through the issuance of BPI Reinforcing Inclusive Support for MSMEs Bonds (BPI RISE Bonds) due 2024.

“We are grateful to our investors for their continued support and trust in BPI. We are also excited that the investments in the BPI RISE Bonds will help us empower MSMEs to reach their full potential and succeed in their ventures. The success of the bond offering brings BPI one step closer to realizing our vision of building a better Philippines — one family, one community at a time,” Limcaoco said during the listing ceremony at the Philippine Dealing and Exchange Corp. (PDEx).

In May last year, BPI established a new P100 billion bond and commercial paper program after using up its previous P100 billion borrowing program established in late 2019.

The bank last tapped the onshore debt market in January last year when it raised P27 billion via the issuance of two-year bonds due 2024.

BPI treasurer Dino Gasmen said the proceeds of the proposed offshore debt issuance in the second quarter would be used to finance the bank’s maturing obligations.

Gasmen said BPI has a maturing foreign debt of $600 million in September this year and another $300 million in September next year.

“Of course we’re looking at all our options because we can do it via club loan or we can do it by another bond issuance,” Gasmen said.