KBank eyes gain for regional banking

KBank eyes gain for regional banking

Kasikornbank (KBank) is projecting 20% revenue growth for its regional banking business this year, in line with economic growth in Indonesia, Vietnam and China.

Pipit Aneaknithi, co-president of KBank, said the bank booked revenue growth for its international banking business, dubbed World Business Group (WBG), of 25% in 2023. The group aims for revenue growth of 20% or more this year, he said.

Vietnam and Indonesia are expected to post strong economic growth compared with their regional peers, Mr Pipit said.

KBank is continuing to focus on China, monitoring the nation's economy and property market downturn to ensure prudent expansion, he said. KBank China has no loan exposure in the real estate sector, said Mr Pipit.

"We can control non-performing loans [NPLs] for WBG at a satisfactory level of 0.6% of total outstanding loans for the business segment," he said.

Even though the Indonesia network accounts for the largest proportion of NPLs at roughly 2%, this is manageable as the regional network generates high revenue growth, said Mr Pipit.

KBank, Thailand's second-largest lender by total assets, is growing WBG under the Asean Economic Community +3 strategy, which includes Japan, China and South Korea.

In November 2023, KBank China opened a new branch in Beijing, its fifth office in the country, aiming to strengthen regional service capabilities.

Indonesia is another high-potential market with a population of 270 million, the most in Southeast Asia, and KBank is eager to advance its operations there, he said.

At the end of 2022, the bank increased its total shareholding in Bank Maspion to 84.55%, making KBank the controlling shareholder.

As of December 2023, total outstanding loans for WBG tallied 2.49 trillion baht, or around 3% of the bank's total loan portfolio.

Mr Pipit said the bank plans to continue growing business loans, aiming for a 3-5% uptick this year. Utilising strong risk management, the bank wants to focus on controlling asset quality, he said.

In addition, KBank plans to focus on sustainable banking both locally and regionally, said Mr Pipit.

KBank aims to expand sustainable finance to 200 billion baht by 2030, after reaching 74 billion last year. Lending is projected to increase to 100 billion baht this year, he said.

In terms of sustainable finance and the transition to net zero emissions, KBank focuses on four key industries: oil and gas, coal, cement and energy.

The bank believes renewable energy use will continue to increase, replacing fossil fuels, said Mr Pipit. The utilisation of alternative energy and fossil fuels should be roughly half each by 2030, attributed to rapid growth of hydropower and solar energy, he said.

KBank has a presence in China, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos.

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