Philippines' Ayala buys part of DBS stake in bank arm for $616 mln

MANILA, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Philippine conglomerate AyalaCorp confirmed on Friday it had bought part of the stakeof Singapore's DBS Group in its banking arm for 25.6billion pesos ($616 million), raising its interest to more than40 percent.

DBS's stake in the Bank of Philippine Islands (BPI)falls to 9.9 percent after the sale of a 10.4 percent holding topartner Ayala Corp.

DBS, Southeast Asia's largest lender, said the sale wouldstrengthen its capital base ahead of the implementation of BaselIII in 2013 in Singapore.

"This reflects our confidence in the growth potential of BPIparticularly amidst the projected expansion of the Philippineeconomy over the next few years," Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Ayalapresident and chief operating officer said in a statement.

The move by DBS is also part of Chief Executive PiyushGupta's broader strategy to focus on larger, controlling stakesin other lenders.

($1 = 41.5900 Philippine pesos)

(Reporting by Rosemarie Francisco; Editing by John Mair)


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