BANGKOK Oct 3 Thai motorcycle lessor Group
Lease PCL has acquired a 30 percent stake in Sri Lanka's
Commercial Credit and Finance PLC (CCF) for $70
million, the company said on Monday, in its first major
expansion outside Southeast Asia.
The acquisition comes a month after it bought a 71.9 percent
stake in BG Microfinance Myanmar from the Sri Lanka finance firm
to expand into Myanmar, adding to existing operations in
Southeast Asian countries in Cambodia, Laos and Indonesia.
Group Lease, part of Japan's Wedge Holdings Co, has
the right to buy the remaining 70 percent in CCF if existing
shareholders want to sell the stake, Chairman and Chief
Executive Mitsuji Konoshita told a joint news conference.
Group Lease plans to combine its digital finance platform,
including electronic payment and insurance, with CCF's
microfinance model to grow business, Konoshita said.
It expects to begin booking profit from the purchase in the
fourth quarter and CCF is expected to generate profit of $7
million a year, he said.
CCF has assets of $500 million, of which one-fifth is in the
microfinance business, and expects a net profit of $22 million
this year, CCF Chief Executive Roshan S. Egodage said.
The Thai firm, which is looking to buy more assets, is also
buying an additional 28.1 percent in BG Microfinance from CCF to
gain complete control in the Mynamar firm, he said.
Thai operations contributed about 40 percent of Group
Lease's profit, while the rest came from foreign operations,
mostly from Cambodia, Konoshita said.
With assets of $450 million, Group Lease is one of
Thailand's biggest three motorcycle lessors with a market share
of 10 percent to 11 percent. It is the market leader in Cambodia
and Laos with shares of 95 percent and 40 percent, respectively.
Group Lease shares surged as much as 6.4 percent to 37.25
baht, outperforming a 0.5 percent gain in the main Thai market
(Reporting by Manunphattr Dhanananphorn; Writing by Khettiya
Jittapong; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath)