Php13 BILLION  METROBANK NON-PERFORMING ASSETS  SOLD

MANILA, March 11, 2006
 (MALAYA) BY MAX ESTAYO - Asia Recovery Corp. yesterday concluded the sale of the P13.2 billion non-performing assets it bought from Metrobank to a subsidiary of a German bank.

Pedro Jaminola Jr., president of ARC, said the assets were sold to a unit of

Hypo-und Vereins Bank AG (HVB) in Singapore.

He said the sale, conducted through an auction, represents almost all of ARCís current non-performing loans and acquired asset inventory.

The bidding attracted several large foreign financial and investment institutions. "This is a very well-priced transaction. We are very pleased with the outcome and goes extremely well with our mandate as a special asset management company," Jaminola said.

HVB, a member of the UniCredito Group of Italy, is the second largest bank in Germany and one of the 10 largest in Central and Eastern Europe.

The bank specializes in retail and mid-cap customer businesses and has 2,000 branches within and outside of Germany employing more than 60,000 employees.

Metrobank sold the distressed assets to ARC in 2003 in an effort to trim its level of bad assets acquired since the Asian financial crisis.

The top lender last year cut its non-performing asset ratio with the sale of more than P10 billion soured loans and acquired assets.

The bankís NPA stood at P34 billion in 2004.

The bank is eyeing to dispose of additional P10-P12 billion within the first half to further improve its asset quality though it did not say if it will sell the assets to the same asset management company.

Metrobankís net income surged by 21 percent in 2005 to P4.36 billion due to strong deposits and loans growth and improvement in trust operations.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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