Philippine National Bank (PNB) is reportedly gearing up to aggressively bid for state-owned United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB), as the lender aims to boost its presence through acquisitions.

Philippine National Bank CEO Reynaldo Maclang said that PNB’s board has authorized management to look into a bid for UCPB.

"We will study if it will be a positive addition to the bank, then we will go for it," Maclang said at the briefing, held after a shareholder meeting of PNB parent LT Group.

The Philippine government is set to launch an auction to divest a controlling stake of UCPB as part of its strategy to recapitalize the mid-sized lender. The terms and conditions for bidding are expected to be announced on 10 June.

Besides PNB, EastWest Banking and other groups have also expressed interest to purchase UCPB.

PNB is also engaged in negotiations to acquire two thrift banks to boost PNB subsidiary – Allied Savings Bank, Maclang said.

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PNB itself has reportedly been an acquisition target of Malaysia’s CIMB Group, Maclang added.