BANGKOK - Shareholders of Group Lease Public Company Limited ("GL", SET:GL), Asean's leading digital finance firm, gave approval to the proposal to acquire shares in two finance firms in Sri Lanka and Myanmar as part of its ambitious plan to become one of the "world-class" players.
With such approval, GL will acquire 22.27% shares in Commercial Credit and Finance PLC (CCF), a leading finance firm listed on Sri Lanka stock market, as part of the company's plan to acquire a total of 29.99% equity stake in CCF. The acquisition of the remaining 7.72% shares from its two existing shareholders - which does not involve connected transactions - is not subject to shareholders' approval.
Such acquisitions will boost earning's growth for GL from the profit sharing of around USD 7 million from CCF to be booked in Q4 and more to come next year and beyond.
The GL's shareholders also approved a proposed acquisition of all shares in BG Microfinance Myanmar Co., Ltd., a microfinance firm in Myanmar, to tap the high loan demand in the newly opened economy, as well as a proposed issuance of debentures to finance the expansion.
Mr. Mitsuji Konoshita, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of GL, revealed the shareholders' resolution, at the company's extraordinary general meeting No. 2/2016 on December 6, 2016, to approve the proposed moves to expand the company's presence in the digital finance markets in the Asean and Asian regions, which will be the new engine of growth for the company.
The acquisition will be made through Group Lease Holdings PTE. Ltd (GLH), a subsidiary registered in Singapore, buying 22.27% shares in Commercial Credit and Finance PLC (CCF) from Creation Investments Sri Lanka LLC (Creation SL). CCF is a leading finance firm listed on Sri Lanka's stock market with about one million customers and that will help GL to widen its geographical scope of operations beyond Asean to cover Sri Lanka, a growing South Asian market.
The 22.27% share acquisition will be part of the plan to hold a total of 29.99% shares in CCF, he said, adding that GLH has purchased the difference of 7.72% from two shareholders, i.e. BG Investments (PVT) Ltd. and Mr. Stephen L Lafrance Jr. The purchases, which were not connected transactions, did not require shareholder approval.
The combined value of the investments in CCF will reach THB 2.514 billion (about LKR 10.58835 billion). The CFF investments will improve GL's performance beginning Q4 of 2016, as about USD 7 million (or about THB 244.6 million) will be posted as a profit sharing from CCF, whose profit for this year is estimated to be around US$22 million and around US$30 million for 2017.
The deal will also enable GL to have access to microfinance know-hows, which can be used to apply for credit expansions in Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia and Thailand.
Mr. Mitsuji added that GL's shareholders also resolved to approve a proposed THB 277.24 million acquisition, to be executed by GL and/or through GLH, of all 1,387,680 issued and paid-up ordinary shares in BG Microfinance Myanmar Co., Ltd. (BGMM), a microfinance firm in Myanmar, at about US$5.77 (about THB 199.79) per share.
The BGMM acquisition will allow GL to immediately expand microfinance business in Myanmar, a country with a population of more than 50 million and huge loan demand. The deal means there is no need for GL to go through the difficult process of applying for a new microcredit business license from the Central Bank of Myanmar. Having been in operation for more than two years, BGMM has nearly 10,000 customers and a loan portfolio worth more than US$1.2 million (about THB 41.9 million).
GL's shareholders, at an extraordinary general meeting, also approved proposed issuance of convertible debentures valued up to US$70 million to international investors on a private placement basis. Up to US$50 million convertible debentures will be allotted to JTrust Asia (JTA), a strategic partner in Indonesia, to finance expansions and secure working capital for GL's digital finance business, and US$20 million convertible debentures to Creation SL, a partner in Sri Lanka, to raise funds for continued expansion. The debentures will have a three-year maturity period and a conversion price of THB 70 per share.
"The shareholders' approvals will enable GL to increase its presence across the Asean and Asian regions at rapid rate and reach its performance goals and become a world-class digital finance firm," said the CEO.
About Group Lease PCL
Group Lease Public Company Limited was established on 6th May 1986 and listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand in 2004 (SET:GL). The company has expertise in hire-purchase of motorcycles, as it has been in the motorcycle leasing business for over 20 years, with motorcycle brands for financing including Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, Kawasaki.
In 2007, the APF group became the major shareholder holding around 65% of total shares. In 2012, GL announced a long-term business plan to become the leading finance company in the Southeast Asian region. To do so, GL formed Group Lease Holdings Pte. Ltd. (GLH), a Singapore holding company, as headquarters for its expansion in other countries.
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