November 21, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

China Bank pays term loan ahead of schedule

CHINA BANKING Corp. (China Bank) has fully paid its $158-million multi-year syndicated term loan facility, a year ahead of the deal’s maturity.

In a disclosure to the local bourse on Monday, the Henry Sy-led bank announced it has paid off the loan ahead of its June 2018 deadline.

“The strong growth in foreign currency deposit has enabled us to...raise the balance earlier than expected,” China Bank Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer William C. Whang was quoted saying in a statement.

The bank said it also “took advantage of favorable changes in market conditions to be able to repay the loan sooner.”

The listed lender paid the loan in two tranches, starting with $60 million last March. It paid the balance last June 29.

The syndication for the loan, which was rolled out on May 18 in Taiwan, attracted demand from financial entities based in Asia and Middle East, some of which supported the lender for the first time. It last tapped the international market in 1996 and 1997 when it successfully raised $125 million from floated rate certificates of deposit, which was returned to the capital markets last June 2015.

According to China Bank, the loan’s proceeds were injected to “better yielding assets as well as funding for corporate borrowers and project financing deals.”

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. was the lead arranger and bookrunner. The Korea Development Bank Group -- KDB Seoul Head Office and KDB Asia Ltd. Hong Kong and Mizuho Bank, Ltd. -- Singapore branch were the lead arrangers.

Meanwhile, Doha Bank Q.S.C. was the lead arranger, with Mega International Commercial Bank Co., Ltd.; CTBC Bank Co., Ltd.

Singapore; The Shanghai Commercial & Savings Bank, Ltd.; Taiwan Cooperative Bank; and Taishin International Bank Co., Ltd. as arrangers.

The listed lender saw its net income reach P6.45 billion in 2016, 15% up from the consolidated and audited P5.6 billion it earned in 2015, on the back of solid performance of its core businesses.

China Bank’s shares closed unchanged at P36.60 apiece on Monday. -- J.MD. Soliman

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(Based on 2014 BusinessWorld Top 1000 Corporation)

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