May 07, 2015

    UOB offers its first Myanmar onshore loan

    UNITED Overseas Bank (UOB) Group has wasted no time getting down to business in fast-emerging Myanmar.

    Just days after opening its Yangon office, the bank has offered its first onshore loan - to a French-Myanmar joint venture.

    The loan, for an undisclosed sum, will help Rangoon Excelsior Company finance the refurbishment of a former colonial building in downtown Yangon into a five-storey hotel.

    UOB, one of nine international banks awarded provisional bank licences in October, opened the doors to its first Yangon branch in Park Royal Hotel on Monday.

    It is the second Singapore bank to have set up a branch in Yangon, after OCBC Bank, which commenced operations late last month.

    The UOB Yangon branch will "support clients investing in industries that will help the long-term economic growth of the country", said the bank in a statement yesterday.

    Its services to foreign companies include corporate loans, trade and project financing, and cash management solutions.

    "The financing of a new hotel in Yangon is in line with our approach of supporting businesses that are helping to drive the development of Myanmar," said Ian Wong, managing director and head of strategy and international management at UOB Group.

    "As tourism is expected to be a main contributor of new jobs in Myanmar over the next decade, we are keen to partner companies such as Rangoon Excelsior in helping to build the necessary tourism infrastructure to support the growth of this sector."

    UOB has singled out four industries - energy, hospitality, infrastructure and construction, as well as manufacturing - in which it will focus its business.

    The four sectors combined are expected to contribute 70 per cent, or US$154 billion (S$205 billion), of Myanmar's economic growth in 2030.

    Mr Wong said at a briefing on Monday that the bank has a "strong pipeline" of deals for foreign direct investment into the country.

    UOB has seen its cross-border loans double over the past three years, with the bulk of the growth coming from South-east Asia.

    The region contributes about a quarter of the group's overall business.

    UOB opened a representative office in Yangon in 1994, and set up a foreign direct investment advisory unit in 2013.