KASIKORNBANK (KBank) has opened a Laotian head office in Vientiane to capture opportunities in a growing economy. The bank aims to foster better connections for Asean companies seeking to do business in Laos amid rising trade and investment flows from Thailand and other foreign investors. In doing so, it wants to secure the equivalent of Bt3.1 billion in loans and deposits combined.
Bank president Pipit Aneaknithi said the Laos head office in the |capital’s Lane Xang Avenue would play a key role in responding |to investor needs and allow for |flexibility in trade and invest-|ment between Thailand and the neighbouring country. The office opened on Monday.
KBank also stands ready to serve companies from China, Japan and South Korea – the three additional countries in the Asean+3 grouping – with eyes on the Laotian market.
The bank says it is aiming to write the equivalent of Bt1.8 billion in loans and gain Bt1.3 billion in deposits in its Laotian operation.
8% annual growth
Over the past 10 years, the Laotian economy has been recording growth in gross domestic product of about 8 per cent a year. With the second-fastest-growing economy in Asean, Laos is rich in natural resources with a quality workforce.
KBank notes that the establishment of the Asean Economic Community has boosted the interest of foreign investors looking for business opportunities in Laos.
Investors have been encouraged by the Laotian government’s plans to improve the country’s infrastructure in a bid to become a logistics hub in the region.
The Laotian Ministry of Industry and Commerce and Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce have established a strategic partnership to promote trade and investment.
Over the past three years, KBank has been supporting Laotian government policies. The bank approved a Bt3-billion credit facility for Electricite du Laos to help modernise the country’s power infrastructure. In the private sector, Leasing Service (Laos) Co received funding and financial management services from the bank, with a focus on the personal-loan and leasing businesses.
KBank says it has encouraged a value-chain business model that delivers sustainable growth for business customers. It offers consultations on opportunities for potential investors from Thailand and elsewhere. These consultations can lead to business-matching and advisory activities.
The bank said that with these services, customers would be better prepared to pursue opportunities while also gaining help in navigating Laotian laws and regulations. These arrangements should help bolster the economy and lead to improved trade connections between countries in the region and Laos, KBank said.
In late 2014, KBank became the first lender from Thailand to be incorporated in Laos. Aside from the head office, the bank has a branch in Vientiane’s Ban Pone Si Nuan district.
KBank said it had come up with a wide variety of financial products and services for business and individuals in Laos, including international transfers, foreign exchange, local and foreign currency deposit accounts, and long- and short-term loans in Lao kip, US dollars and baht.
It is the only bank with a service centre for high-net-worth individuals as well as for Thai and foreign investors in Laos.