GL Targeting Aggressive Regional Expansion BackMarch 16, 2016 SET-listed digital financial firm Group Lease Public Company Limited (GL) is targeting to raise 2 billion baht through the issuance of debentures this year to finance aggressive regional expansion and possible mergers & acquisitions (M&As). The decision was made at a GL Board meeting on March 15 which decided to raise the ceiling for the issuance of debentures to 2.5 billion baht from 2 billion baht that was approved by the company’s shareholders earlier. Since some 500 million baht had already been issued, the total remaining amount now is 2 billion baht. The same Board meeting also decided to pay 0.156 baht dividend per share, which will amount to a total of 237.96 million baht. The recording date for shareholders entitled to the dividend was set for May 11, with the registration book set to close on May 12. It was noted that both the dividend payment and the raising of the debentures ceiling will be presented to the Annual General Shareholders Meeting (AGM) on April 28 for final endorsement. Mr. Tatsuya Konoshita, GL’s Executive Director and Chief Investor Relations Officer, stated that new funds to be raised from the issuance of debentures will finance GL’s aggressive expansion into CLMV+I (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam plus Indonesia) and possible takeovers of finance-related businesses in the region. GL posted a record high profit of 582.89 million baht last year, up about 400% from the 117.72 million baht net profit in 2014, thanks to higher profits in Thailand and overseas operations, particularly in Cambodia where the company has been very successful. Mr. Tatsuya noted that it is likely the company will achieve another record-high profit for the first quarter this year. He said there is further improvement in the assets quality in the Thailand operations where the rates of non-performing loans (NPLs) have dropped from 7.3% last year to 6.5% now and continue to improve further. Meanwhile, operations in Cambodia have continued to improve markedly. GL Finance (GLF, a wholly owned subsidiary in Cambodia) has developed a cost-effective digital financial platform that has enabled the entire process starting from loans evaluation/approval to monthly installment payments by clients to function speedily and efficiently at low costs. “Our sales (in Cambodia) roughly doubled from 1,200 units in February last year to about 2,200 units in February this year but our profits have tripled because of the fixed costs,” Mr. Tatsuya said. GL’s operations in Laos are expected to generate more profits this year while the company is awaiting a license from the Indonesian government in order to kick-start the business there. A joint venture company has already been formed with GL’s strategic partner the J Trust Bank plus a local Indonesian partner and the system is ready to go as soon as the license is issued which is expected shortly.