By Julito G. Rada
Bank of the Philippine Islands, the third-largest lender in terms of assets, said Wednesday it pans to raise P5 billion from the issuance of 1.5-year peso fixed-rate bonds due 2024.
The move aims to reinforce BPI’s support for micro, small and medium enterprises.
The issuance, called BPI Reinforcing Inclusive Support for MSMEs Bonds, is part of the P100-billion bond program approved by its board of directors on May 18, 2022.
BPI has the option to upsize the bond issue, subject to investor demand.
“The net proceeds of BPI’s offering will be used to finance or refinance the business requirements of eligible micro, small and medium enterprises, consistent with BPI’s Sustainable Funding Framework,” it said.
BPI recognizes the significant contributions of MSMEs to the Philippine economy, as they account for 99.6 percent of businesses and 64.7 percent of total employment in the country.
“Support for such MSMEs is seen to be critical in the post-crisis recovery of an economy battered by high unemployment, rising inflation, and disrupted supply chains,” it said.
Under BPI’s Sustainable Funding Framework, loans to MSMEs may be considered social projects eligible to be financed or refinanced by green, social and/or sustainability bonds, if such loans benefit underdeveloped region/s, meet the qualifications set in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ Manual of Regulations for Banks and the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Guidelines on the Issuance of Social Bonds under the ASEAN Social Bonds Standards in the Philippines.
These loans are also be expected to support and promote underserved and under-banked segments of the population and benefit those negatively impacted by natural calamities, with significant consequences on the people, public health, infrastructure, assets, or the economy.
The BPI RISE Bonds will have a tenor of one and one-half years, offered at a minimum investment amount P1 million, and in additional increments of P100,000. The offer period will be from Jan. 9 to 20, 2023, and the issue and listing date will be on Jan. 30, 2023.
BPI and the joint lead arrangers reserve the right to update the offer terms and the periods and dates prescribed above, as deemed appropriate and with due notice.
BPI Capital Corp. and ING Bank N.V., Manila Branch are the joint lead arrangers of the offer. BPI Capital is the sole selling agent.