PNB to issue dividends

PHILIPPINE National Bank will issue property dividends to its shareholders, it said on Monday. — BW FILE PHOTO

PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK (PNB) will distribute property dividends to its stockholders following the lender’s investment in PNB Holdings Corp. (PHC) in exchange for certain properties of the bank.

“The distribution of PNB Holdings shares through the dividend declaration allows PNB stockholders to share from the benefit of the realized values of the properties and any future valuation gains,” PNB President and CEO Jose Arnulfo “Wick” A. Veloso was quoted as saying in a statement on Monday.

PNB in January said the central bank had approved the lender’s request for “temporary exemption from prudential limits on its equity investments in PHC.

The bank’s dividend declaration is the second phase of the bank’s “strategic initiative to recognize the unrealized value of three properties,” including the PNB Financial Center in Pasay, PNB Makati Center in Ayala’s Central Business District, and the Prime Property at the corner of Buendia Avenue and Paseo De Roxas, also in Makati.

“Through the distribution of PHC shares via the declaration of the property dividends, all shareholders of PNB will become part owners of PNB Holdings, allowing them to benefit from future potential gains from the development of the properties, either through potential dividends and/or through the increase in the valuation of the shares,” the bank said in a statement.

“PNB is pursuing plans to reduce its low-earning assets to build up its financial position. PNB Holdings increased its authorized capital stock to reflect the value of the three prime properties,” PNB said.

Mr. Veloso said the development of the properties is already being studied by real estate professionals working alongside PHC and PNB.

PNB’s net income dropped 73.14% to P2.6 billion in 2020 from P9.68 billion in 2019 as it beefed up loan loss provisions amid the coronavirus crisis.

Its shares closed at P25.90 apiece on Monday, up by P2.95 or 12.85% from its previous finish. — L.W.T. Noble