BNP Paribas prepares multi-billion IPO of First Hawaiian Bank, say sources: Reuters

BNP Paribas has chosen banks to prepare a multi-billion dollar stock market listing for its U.S. unit First Hawaiian Bank, sources close to the matter said.

Three sources told Reuters that Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill Lynch had been appointed as co-ordinaters for the French bank’s move. One of the sources said BNP Paribas was estimating the value of the business at between $4 billion and $5 billion.

Neither BNP Paribas nor Goldman Sachs would comment. Bank of America Merrill Lynch was not immediately available for comment.

In December, BNP Paribas said it was looking at “strategic options” for First Hawaiian as part of its plans to improve its finances and to respond to new regulatory requirements.

The bank said at the time that realizing value from First Hawaiian Bank could strengthen the parent bank’s Common Equity Tier 1 ratio – a key measure of bank capital stability – by up to approximately 40 basis points. BNP had a 10.7 CET 1 ratio as of end-September.

BNP Paribas operates in the United States through BancWest Corporation in the United States, the holding company for two retail banks: Bank of the West and First Hawaiian Bank.

BancWest, with $71.7 billion of assets, is the third-largest commercial bank based in California and operates a network of more than 600 retail, wealth and corporate banking offices in 22 states.

First Hawaiian Bank, with $18.9 billion of assets, has 62 branches throughout Hawaii, Guam and Saipan.

First Hawaiian Bank’s net income stood at $172.5 million over the first nine months of the year, up 4.6 percent over the comparable period of 2014.