Two biggest shareholders of RCBC increase stakes

Posted on April 07, 2016

MANILA -- Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.’s (RCBC) two biggest shareholders have bought an extra $9.48 million worth of stock, taking their combined stakes to 65.02%, the Philippine lender said in a stock exchange filing on Wednesday.

THE LOGO of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. is seen at the RCBC building in Makati City in this March 11 photo. -- AFP
RCBC is at the center of a Senate investigation into a cyber heist in which $81 million stolen from the Bangladesh Bank’s account at the US Federal Reserve Bank of New York was allegedly deposited at RCBC.

In the filing, RCBC said top shareholder Pan Malayan Management and Investment Corp. last week bought 8.8 million shares at P30 apiece, raising its stake to 42.31% from 41.68%.

Taiwan’s Cathay Life Insurance, a subsidiary of Cathay Financial Holding Co. Ltd., bought 5.8 million shares also at P30, taking its stake to 22.71% from 22.3%.

The price of RCBC shares fell to as low as P28.75 each last month after the bank was placed under investigation. The stock fell as much as 3.8% to P30.70 in Wednesday morning trade, versus a 0.6% decline in the broader market.

“The principals are very confident of the bank. They used their cash to buy out investors that wanted to exit,” said Augusto M. Cosio, Jr., president at fund manager First Metro Asset Management.

RCBC’s reputation may have suffered from the heist, but its balance sheet remains attractive given its clients and depositors, Mr. Cosio said.

A spokesman at Cathay Financial told Reuters it was “confident in (RCBC’s) chairman and management team.”

“The Philippines’ market is booming. It is only one of its branches that is being investigated. And RCBC is fully cooperating with investigators,” the spokesman said.

Unidentified hackers allegedly stole the money in early February and channelled it to casinos and gambling agents in the Philippines via a Manila branch of RCBC.

RCBC launched its own investigation and filed a case against two former employees. -- Reuters