United Overseas Bank today announced it plans to double its Thailand cross-border corporate loans within the next two years.
The Bank has based its projections on increased intra-regional trade flows and the fast-growing volume of foreign direct investments (FDI) from Thailand ahead of the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015.
To drive this projected increase in business, UOB Thailand has set up a dedicated FDI Advisory Unit to help Thai companies expand their business in the region and foreign companies looking for investment opportunities in Thailand.
The Unit gives customers access to UOB’s full suite of corporate and personal banking products and allows them to tap into the Bank’s extensive international banking network. While keeping one single point of contact, customers can also leverage UOB’s international relationships with strategic partners in areas of legal, audit, consultancy and key government agencies.
For a start, the Unit’s first priority will be to focus on Thai companies with regional expansion plans.
Investment in Thailand and Asia on the rise
Asia is playing an increasingly important role in the global FDI market. Asian FDI inflows now make up for 8.2 per cent of the global FDI, representing a significant jump from two per cent after the financial crisis in 1997. From 2009 to 2012, FDI inflows into ASEAN have grown by 227 per cent to US$107 billion, of which an estimated US$8 billion flowed into Thailand1 .
Eric Tham, Managing Director, Group Commercial Banking, UOB Group said, “Within the fast growing Southeast Asian region, Thai companies in particular show a remarkable entrepreneurial spirit. Ahead of the AEC, which will further open up the markets within Southeast Asia, Thailand is a natural choice for many due to its investment-friendly environment and close proximity to Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Indochina. UOB is in a unique position to advise companies seeking new opportunities as our history and expertise has delivered long-term sustainable growth as we expanded in the region.”
Many Thai companies are already actively looking for expansion opportunities to grow their business, to lower their manufacturing costs and increase access to skilled labour.
According to the Bank of Thailand, 2011 was the first year that the number of outgoing FDI (Thai companies investing overseas) was higher than incoming FDI in Thailand (foreign companies investing in Thailand). In this period, 35 per cent of the outgoing FDI from Thai companies was within the ASEAN region.
“While we are operating in highly uncertain times, we can’t discount the fact that the centre of economic gravity is shifting to Asia. Through our dedicated FDI Advisory Unit we will share our depth of knowledge, breadth of experience and established best practices to companies so they too can seize the opportunities available in what is arguably the most dynamic region in the world,” said Mr Tham.
As at 30 June 2011, cross-border lending made up approximately 15 per cent if the Bank’s total corporate loan book
UOB’s FDI Advisory Unit launched at ‘Regionalising Your Business’ seminar
The FDI Advisory Unit was announced at the ‘Regionalising Your Business’ seminar held in Bangkok on 7 March 2013. The seminar was organised by UOB, with support from its partners Thailand Board of Investment (BOI), International Enterprise Singapore (under the Ministry of Trade and Industry of the Singapore Government), law firm Rajah & Tann Thailand, and Accounting and Business Advisory firm RSM Chio Lim Singapore. Around 70 customers and partners received expert advice on the legal framework, tax implications, and organisation structures when investing overseas.
1Source: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
March 7, 2013
For More information, please contact
Brand Performance & Corporate Communications,
Overseas Bank (Thai) Pcl.
Boonyaporn Vongbuikaw Tel. 0-2343-4965
or Chonreutai Dao-ngern Tel. 0-2343-4913