Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, December 5, 2001

Fed approves bank sale

By Frank Cho
Advertiser Staff Writer

The Federal Reserve Board yesterday unanimously approved Paris-based BNP Paribas SA's $2.5 billion bid to acquire BancWest Corp., clearing the final hurdle in the sale of Hawai'i's biggest bank.

By a 5-0 vote, the Fed approved BNP Paribas' bid to acquire 55 percent of BancWest, giving it full ownership of the parent of First Hawaiian Bank and San Francisco-based Bank of the West.

Walter Dods, BancWest's chairman and chief executive officer, was in Paris and could not be reached for comment. But in previous statements, Dods has said the bank's management will stay on under terms of the sale and no changes are planned for the Honolulu bank's operations.

BancWest will remain based in Honolulu as a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, and names of its subsidiary banks will not change.

There is still a mandatory 15-day waiting period before the deal can close. After that, shareholders will be paid $35 cash without interest for each share owned, a 40 percent premium over the bank's $24.98 closing price before the deal was announced in May.

BancWest also will pay a prorated quarterly dividend for the period up until the day before the transaction closes.

BNP Paribas, with $709.2 billion in assets, owned 45 percent of BancWest prior to the Fed's approval. BancWest, with $19.8 billion in assets, is the No. 35 U.S. bank with 252 branches in seven states, Guam and Saipan.

The Estate of Samuel Damon is the company's second largest shareholder with 13 percent, or 15.8 million shares, of the company's outstanding stock, followed by Alexander & Baldwin. A&B expects to generate about $118 million in pre-tax proceeds from the deal and has said it plans to use the money to pay down debt and fund real estate acquisitions.

On Sept. 20, BancWest shareholders approved the BNP Paribas acquisition.

Shares of BancWest rose 6 cents to $34.81 in New York Stock Exchange trading yesterday. American depository receipts of BNP Paribas closed up 55 cents to $22.15.

Reach Frank Cho at 525-8088, or at fcho@honoluluadvertiser.com.