Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Thai-Japanese banks in joint expansion in Laos

YUKAKO ONO, Nikkei staff writer

Suwat Techawatanawana, first senior vice president of Kasikornbank, right, and Shiro Kitano, managing director of Aeon Leasing Service (Lao), shake hands at the signing ceremony held on July 8 in Vientiane. (Courtesy of Kasikornbank)

BANGKOK -- Kasikornbank, Thailand's fourth largest bank by assets, has extended loans to Aeon Leasing Service (Lao), the consumer financing arm of Japanese retail giant Aeon, to back its retail and motorcycle financing business in Laos.

     This is the first case in which Kasikornbank extend loans to a Japanese company after it opened its subsidiary in Laos in December.

     Under a agreement signed on July 8, the two companies will develop payment channels for Aeon's clients utilizing Kasikornbank's ATMs and branches, as well as online banking.

     Aeon Leasing Service (Lao), headquartered in the capital of Vientiane, is now planning to reach out to other major cities and Managing Director Shiro Kitano said in a statement that the cooperative efforts with Kasikornbank "would be supportive to the company's business, making it more flexible in its operations."

     Aeon has consolidated its regional business in Thailand and is keen to expand into Laos as its economy is expected to grow 6.4% this year and 7% for the next two years, according to World Bank figures.

     Kasikornbank expects similar moves by Japanese clients with the Asean Economic Community (AEC) slated to start at the year end.

     The bank has many partnerships with Japanese regional banks and their clients want to leverage this network in Laos to cultivate the fast growing market.   

     Kasikornbank reopened in Laos last December after having pulled out of the country in the wake of the Asian financial crisis in 1997/1998.

     Other Thai banks with local branches include Siam Commercial Bank and Bank of Ayudhya, which is part of Japan'sMitsubishi UFJ Financial Group.



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