Thailand's Bank of Ayudhya plans regional expansion

FILE PHOTO: People walk past a sign for Thailand
FILE PHOTO: People walk past a sign for Thailand's Bank of Ayudhya in Bangkok July 3, 2013. REUTERS/Kerek Wongsa

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's fifth-largest lender by assets, Bank of Ayudhya Pcl (BAY), is planning to grow its presence in Southeast Asia and generate 10% of profits from overseas by 2023, a senior executive said on Monday.

"We will use our strengths to build new business, diversify and build resilience," chief strategy officer, Pairote Cheunkrut told reporters.

Currently, about 4% of its profits come from outside of Thailand.

The announcement comes as Thai lenders and businesses further expand abroad.

In August, BAY announced it would acquire SHB Finance in Vietnam for $115 million.

In 2019, rival lender Bangkok Bank Pcl acquired Indonesia's PT Bank Permata for about $2.7 billion.

"We will start with the retail markets, which is our strength and then advance to commercial segments if there are opportunities," Pairote said.

This was the model BAY used for Cambodia, its largest market outside of Thailand, when it acquired micro-lending institution HKL in 2016, he said.

It received approval last year to become a commercial bank and was renamed Hattha Bank.

BAY's advantage comes from its global network and products of its parent firm, Japan's Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Pairote said.

The Japanese financial group holds 76.9% stake in BAY.

"Our end game is to have footprint in all ASEAN markets," Pairote said, referring to the 10 countries of the Southeast Asia bloc.

It currently has presence in five countries, including the Philippines, Myanmar and Laos.

(Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Martin Petty)

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