GL Expanding to Indonesia

08 Sep 2015

SET-listed motorcycle leasing firm Group Lease Public Company Limited (GL) is setting up a new company to spearhead its expansion into the huge and relatively untapped retail finance and leasing markets in Indonesia, the largest member state of ASEAN with a population of over 250 million.

The new company – PT JTrust Finance Indonesia – is a joint venture between Group Lease Holdings Pte. Ltd. (GLH, a GL subsidiary in Singapore, holding 65%), J Trust Asia Pte. Ltd. (a subsidiary of the J Trust Group which is GL’s strategic partner, holding 20%) and PT Wijaya Infrastruktur Indonesia (holding 15%). A formal filing with the SET today (Sept 8, 2015) said the joint venture company will have a registered capital of about US$ 7 million (245 million baht).

According to GL Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mitsuji Konoshita, GL intends to use the 62 branches of J Trust Bank, a local Indonesian bank owned by the J Trust Group, to facilitate and support its entry into the Indonesian markets. J Trust recently subscribed to US$ 30 million worth of convertible debentures issued by GL.

“Registration of the new joint venture company is now underway. We expect the process to be completed within a few months so that we can start doing business within this year,” Mr. Konoshita stated.

After GL’s highly successful operations in Cambodia and the recent commencement of business in Laos, the entry into Indonesia marks another giant step in the Thailand-based group’s regional expansion. This corresponds with the company’s corporate vision to become “The Leading ASEAN Regional Finance Company” within 5 years.

GL recently reported record-high profits of 129.47 million baht for Q2 ending June this year, an astronomical jump of 1,765% from the same period last year. Aside from lower provisions for bad and doubtful debts that were in line with the country’s economic recovery, the substantial profit increases were made possible by larger contributions from the highly successful operations in Cambodia.

Mr. Konoshita projected that the outstanding portfolio in Cambodia (comprising a combination of Honda motorcycles and Kubota farm machineries) would roughly double from US$ 45 million at the end of June to about US$ 80-100 million by year-end. He further expected this to more than double to US$ 250 million by the end of next year. By comparison, the outstanding portfolio for Thailand will rise just about 10% from the current approximate 5 billion baht (US$ 140 million) to 5.5 billion over the same period.

“The growth potentials in Cambodia are huge,” Mr. Konoshita stated. “And the growth is coming from the rural countryside where 80% of our clients are based. We have seen a great deal of rural development in recent years – new roads, construction, housing – which has created a whole new generation of consumers with new purchasing power which we have never seen before,” he added.

Mr. Konoshita noted that these new countryside consumers represent a huge market untouched by GL’s competitors which are more focused in cities and other urban areas. As a result, GL Finance (GLF), GL’s wholly-owned subsidiary in Cambodia, has emerged as the dominant market leader with an estimated 95% market share. Importantly, these rural markets are relatively insulated from the current global financial volatilities, Mr. Konoshita added.

Equipped with an efficient E-Finance system which substantially shortens the times on credit evaluation for clients, GL is now using the successful model developed in Cambodia for Laos and will introduce the same system for Indonesia once the new joint venture is set up.

Mr. Konoshita expressed his confidence that entry into the Indonesian markets will mark a new chapter that will raise GL to new heights in terms of revenue and profitability. “Like in the case of Cambodia, the markets in Indonesia were not there a few years ago. But thanks to rapid economic development, a whole new generation of consumers with new purchasing power has emerged. And because of the much larger population, the Indonesian markets are ten times bigger than Cambodia,” he stated.

Mr. Konoshita stated that while Thailand will continue to be GL’s base, overseas operations from the region will make much larger contributions to aggregate group revenues and profits from now on. For instance, profits from Cambodia will match that in Thailand this quarter and surpass the Thai numbers starting in Q4.

According to Mr. Konoshita, the new joint venture company in Indonesia expects to jumpstart leasing business covering motorcycles, farm machineries, solar panels and electrical appliances through the network of 62 branches of J Trust Bank, a local Indonesian bank owned by J Trust Group. “Running parallel to that, the JV company will also become a holding company as and when we succeed in taking over any local Indonesian finance firms,” he added. Ends.