AUB prices IPO at P95 per sJAMES A. LOYOLAhare

Asia United Bank (AUB) has priced its P8.36 billion initial public offering (IPO) (including over-allotment option) at P95.00 per share, lower than the maximum price of P110 per share set by the bank for the IPO.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, the bank said it is selling 80 million shares plus an over-allotment option of 8 million shares. The domestic offer will start on May 7 and listing date has been set on May 17, 2013.

IPO global coordinator UBS AG said "the international order book was 5 times oversubscribed with approximately 90 investors. About 75 percent came from Asia and 25 percent from Europe."

It added that the order book was covered throughout the price range but the issuer wanted to ensure aftermarket support. It was executed in a quick 3.5 days roadshow.

"Jack Ng's initial foray into the international capital markets received overwhelming support from the investor community," UBS said.

Jacinto Ng of the Rebisco group said "the IPO is part of the process to fully comply with the (requirements for the issuance of a) universal banking license" adding that they will focus on organic growth but remain in the "lookout for potential acquisitions that can help fast-track growth."

The bank said it has evaluated its capital in light of its business strategy and determined that the IPO would further solidify its capital adequacy and financial strength and, more importantly, allow the bank to pursue its strategic growth initiatives.

These initiatives include the continued expansion of its branch network via organic and inorganic means and expanding its credit and balance sheet to meet increased demand from the growing economy.

AUB will also pursue the deepening and expanding of its customer relationships while developing new business segments and enhancing the suite of products and services offered by the bank.

The bank said it intends to use the net proceeds from the IPO for acquisitions or payments for restricted branch licenses (P1 billion), expansion of its branch network (P1 billion), investments and implementation of IT infrastructure (P650 million), and the balance for general corporate purposes including the expansion of its interest-earning asset base.

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