Former Trade minister Roberto Ongpin has been elected chairman of the board of Philippine Bank of Communications, after his ISM Communications Corp. formalized the acquisition of a 97.28-percent stake in the bank for P4.681 billion. PBCom disclosed Wednesday that the three major shareholders of PBCom—the Chung, Luy and Nubla groups—signed an agreement with ISM to sell their shares in the bank to ISM. The agreement involves the sale of their entire stake in the bank, representing 97.28 percent of the company’s outstanding capital, to the ISM Group for P4.681 billion. The transaction will require regulatory approvals from the Bangko Sentral and the state-owned Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. The owners of PBCom were under pressure from PDIC to sell their combined stake in the bank to a strategic third-party investor. In 2004, PDIC extended a P7.64-billion financial assistance to rescue PBCom from its financial difficulty. Last month, Macquarie Capital Division of Macquarie Capital (Singapore) Pte. Ltd., PBCom’s sale adviser, announced the selection of ISM as PBCom’s major strategic third-party investor. Of the three original shareholders, the Chung and Nubla groups indicated their intention to reinvest the proceeds of the sale of their respective shares in the company at the same price, or up to a total of P2.804 billion. As a result, Ralph Nubla Jr. (former chairman) and Carlos Chung will remain on the company’s board of directors, while Henry Uy, the incumbent president elected in October 2010 in place of Roman Anthony Azanza, will retain his position. This means that only the Luy group, led by Enrique Luy, would divest their more than P1.8 billion worth of shares in the bank. Other members of the new PBCom board are Eric Recto (vice chairman), Reynaldo David (chairman of executive committee), Gregorio Yu, Seumas Dawes of the Ashmore Group, Patrick Sugito Walujo and Edgar Sia II. PBCom reported total resources of P39.551 billion as of end-March, including P26.1 billion in deposits. It booked a net income of P71 million in the first quarter of 2011, exceeding its year-ago profit of P36 million. Total loans reached P10.7 billion, with a non-performing loan ratio of 7.46 percent as of March. The bank’s capital base stood at P3.127 billion during the same period.