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Firm 'foresaw rice-scheme woes'

Ratchthani Leasing says it became wary of the government's troubled rice-pledging scheme last year and adopted a more selective and cautious approach in extending instalment loans to rice farmers.

Managing director Kovit Rongwattanasophon said that was particularly the case for second-hand trucks.

However, he said the company's policy on extending loans for new trucks remained the same, with total monthly loans for new trucks of about Bt700 million. He said new-truck owners usually had a steady income and ability to service monthly loan repayments. Ratchthani Leasing has not revised this year's lending-volume target of Bt19 billion.

However, Kovit said the prolonged political unrest and subsequent adverse impact on the economy were something the company must closely monitor and be ready to promptly adjust its business plans accordingly.

This year, Ratchthani Leasing plans to cut its truck financing from 70 per cent to 65 per cent of its total loans, with imported sports cars, second-hand vehicles and big motorbikes making up the remaining 35 per cent.

Ratchthani Leasing reported that its lending volume last month was Bt1.2 billion. Kovit said the figure was slightly below its target of Bt1.3 billion because of relatively weaker sales of new cars.

He said Ratchthani Leasing's non-performing taxi loans had risen from 1 per cent to 3 per cent and stood at Bt900 million in total after the prolonged anti-government protest in Bangkok. The protest had reduced the number of taxi passengers and the number of taxis at Suvarnabhumi Airport from 10,000 to 4,000.

Kovit said Ratchthani Leasing was trying its best to assist clients affected by the situation to keep its NPLs at a manageable level.


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