Jul 062014

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BDO Unibank Inc., the banking arm of Henry Sy’s retail and real estate empire, has signed a deal to buy Real Bank, a 24-branch thrift lender with operations mainly in Southern and Central Luzon.

The bank said it would acquire all of Real Bank’s “recorded assets and assumption of all recorded liabilities.”

Real Bank has a deposit base of P7.2 billion. No other details of the transaction were disclosed.

The Real Bank buyout is the latest in a recent string of BDO’s acquisitions, which have allowed the company to secure its position as the country’s largest bank in terms of assets, deposits, capital, and trust funds under management.

Last November, BDO sealed a deal to buy the local thrift banking unit of American financial giant Citigroup. The transaction to buy Citibank Savings was completed last March.

BDO also recently acquired the Philippine trust business of Deutsche Bank AG, expanding its assets under management by over P70 billion.

This comes ahead of the integration of Southeast Asia’s banking system in 2015, when BDO and other major local players will have to compete for market share with their larger regional peers.

BDO has one of the largest distribution networks, with more than 800 operating branches and over 2,300 ATMs nationwide.  It also has a branch in Hong Kong as well as 13 remittance and representative offices in Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East.

BDO’s net profit in the first three months of the year amounted to P5.5 billion, down by 45 percent year-on-year in the absence of hefty trading gains that bloated the comparative level of P10 billion in the same period last year.

For the rest of the year, BDO sees net profit rising by a modest 1 percent over the 2013 level of P22.6 billion.

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