Tuesday, September 8, 2009

My favorite business story : AY in the 1970s

Among the many business stories and anecdotes to quote, my favorite would be this one.  It becomes my favorite because it takes place in a setting which is very much a part of me...Makati in the 1970s.

It is also my favorite because it reflects the savvy of a seasoned business tactician.

The person involved is Alfonso Yuchengco. In the early 1970s, hotshot investment bank Bancom Development Corp. wanted to merge Yuchengco's Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC) with Far East Bank to create the Philippines' largest domestic lender. Bancom's Sixto Roxas teamed up with Augusto Barcelon in a buyout bid. "Yuchengco made it appear that he did not have the money [to purchase the two men's RCBC shares]," recalls lawyer Leonardo Siguion Reyna, an RCBC Director. "So Roxas and Barcelon quoted their price - $7 million. They never knew what hit them when Yuchengco called their bluff." The tycoon had secretly lined up funding from long-standing banking associates in the U.S.

A tactician's mind and openness to foreign ties are hallmarks of Yuchengco's style. Add prudence. His caution may have held back RCBC's growth, but the conservatism of the nation's sixth-largest bank was highly rewarded as the Asian economic crisis of 1997 reeled on. At that time, RCBC says it has only $165 million in foreign borrowings - 1% of the banking system's foreign loans of $16 billion. The money was lent to clients with a natural hedge, such as exporters. "We were able to lessen our exposure to loan defaults," says RCBC vice chairman Alfonso "Tito" Yuchengco III, the youngest of the founder's eight children.

Whenever I am faced with a situation in business wherein a gun seems to be aimed at me, I have learned from the story above to simply keep quiet and gather the resources needed to meet the threat head-on and strike at the moment when the opposition least expects it.  I guess it's quite like the ending of Die Hard where a shirtless Bruce Willis taped his pistol behind his back so as to create the impression that he was unarmed and vulnerable.  Nice.

-taken from my old blog on Multiply.com

About the Author

Lloyd Tronco

Author & Editor

Lloyd Tronco. Artist. Writer. Entrepreneur. Undiagnosed ADHD. INTJ.


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