THE EXPORT-Import Bank of Thailand targets growth of 3-5 per cent in new loans and net profit this year as Thai investors step up investment overseas, especially in Asean countries. Thailand's exports are also expected to expand 5 per cent this year.
Kanit Sukonthaman, president of Exim Bank, told a press conference yesterday that Thai investors were especially active in the emerging CLMV markets of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
“Myanmar has potential for Thai investors in infrastructure projects. Some of them also apply for loans and risk-mitigation facilities from the bank,” he said.
About 80 per cent of the loans and risk-mitigation facilities for CLMV are for investment in Laos, especially to construct hydropower plants.
The rest are for Myanmar and Cambodia.
The bank approved Bt34.84 billion in international project financing last year, of which Bt22.61 billion or 65 per cent was for CLMV. It provided risk-mitigation facilities worth Bt10.11 billion for CLMV.
The bank’s outstanding credits rose to Bt67.52 billion last year from Bt66.67 billion in the previous year as a result of an increase in new loan disbursements of Bt17.17 billion, while loan repayments totalled Bt16.67 billion.
The bank’s non-performing-loan (NPL) ratio edged up 0.14 percentage point to 4.36 per cent or Bt2.94 billion last year from 4.22 per cent in 2012.
“Our NPLs increased last year when some of our agriculture customers faced financial problems, but that is still less than the overall market,” Kanit said.
This year the bank will promote small and medium-sized enterprises in the import and export business. Now up to 80 per cent of its customers are SMEs. This follows the success in extending Bt48.41 billion in loans to SMEs last year, when SME business turnover reached Bt74.67 billion, while SME loans outstanding amounted to Bt19.11 billion at the end of the year.
“We believe that we have a role to support SMEs to expand their business. Not only do we provide loans to them but we also help them check their customers to reduce their business risk in the long run,” he said.
The bank averages 200 new SME loan customers a year.