BANGKOK, June 21 (Reuters) - Muangthai Leasing PCL , Thailand's biggest provider of motorcycle credit, expects revenue and net profit to grow 50 percent this year, as demand for loans picks up in tandem with economic recovery, its chairman said on Wednesday.
The firm also forecasts April-June earnings to exceed that of three months prior on expectations of lending growth, Chuchat Petaumpai said in an interview.
"This quarter is the planting season and the start of school and that is boosting demand for loans," Chuchat said, referring to the need for farming machinery and motorcycles.
The forecast comes after Thailand's military government introduced various measures to help farmers, such as buying crops at fixed prices, to boost local economies and help meet its economic growth forecast of 3.3 to 3.8 percent this year from 3.2 percent last year.
The farming sector accounts for 40 percent of Muangthai's loan book, and demand should continue during the current period of bumper crops and due to government support, Chuchat said.
"When there are problems, either droughts or flooding, the government will come to help farmers," Chuchat said.
In January-March, Muangthai booked 536 million baht ($15.75 million) in profit, a rise of 91 percent from the same period a year earlier. Revenue rose 81 percent to 1.56 billion baht.
Motorcycle sales grew 1.6 percent over the period to 464,783 units, a rate that reached 6.6 percent by May with 773,748 units, showed data from the Federation of Thailand Industries.
Chuchat said, for the whole year, revenue and profit will likely grow 50 percent, though cost increases will pull down its net interest margin slightly to 19 to 20 percent, from 20.2 percent last year.
Its accounts receivable stood at 26 billion baht as at March-end.
Chuchat also said Muangthai plans to follow up a 4 billion baht bond sale last month with another sale in August or September, though the size of the sale is yet to be determined.
Muangthai, with over 4,500 employees at 2,000 branches, aims to have 2,200 by the end of 2017 and expand into Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam after 2020, Chuchat said.
To attract institutional investors, Muangthai is planning roadshows in July-September in Europe, Hong Kong and the United States. (Reporting by Satawasin Staporncharnchai; Writing by Orathai Sriring; Editing by Christopher Cushing)