BSR secures lending deal for rail lines

BSR secures lending deal for rail lines

Three large banks -- Bangkok Bank (BBL), Krungthai Bank and Siam Commercial Bank -- are set to sign a syndicated loan contract with BSR Joint Venture in the next week or so to finance the construction of the Pink and Yellow monorail lines.

The loan is expected to be drawn down next year, delayed from the previous schedule of the fourth quarter this year because of additional details and the complicated process of the projects, BBL chairman Deja Tulananda said, without revealing the size of the syndicated loan.

BSR Joint Venture is a venture between BTS Group Holding Plc, Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Plc, and Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Plc. BTS holds 75% of the BSR consortium, while STEC holds 15% and Ratch owns the remaining 10%.

BBL, the country's largest lender by assets, is lead financial arranger of the loan.

The two projects have a combined value of 100 billion baht, of which the government will inject 40 billion for related civil works and BSR will invest 60 billion for construction, train operation and management.

Mr Deja said the projects would encourage private investment and boost the country's economic growth.

Private investment has shown signs of picking up and it could underpin the country's economic growth, in addition to public investment and exports. The central bank's Monetary Policy Committee recently raised its GDP growth forecast for both this year and 2018 to 3.8%, from the 3.5% and 3.7% it predicted in July, respectively.

BBL expects to achieve its loan growth target of 4-5% this year, mainly because of growth in corporate lending.

As of August, the bank's outstanding loans were 1.76 trillion baht, up 0.87% from the previous month, but down 0.62% from the end of last year, Kasikorn Research Center reported.

K-Research said the industry's outstanding loans as of August were 10.7 trillion baht, rising 0.3% month-on-month, 2.87% year-on-year and 1.06% year-to-date.

The loan rebound was supported by large corporates. The segment should boost loan demand for the remainder of the year, thanks to higher-than-expected exports, public investment and seasonal factors. K-Research predicts corporate loan growth of 3.6% in the third quarter and 3.5% in the final quarter.

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