Riding on Grab’s big data, MUFG to expand lending business in Thailand

Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc will start lending to Grab users and drivers in Thailand to monetise its $706-million investment in the ride-hailing firm as growth in its home market slumps, its chief executive said.

MUFG agreed to invest in Grab in February but it incurred a one-off charge of about 360 billion yen ($3.3 billion) in the year through March due to a drop in the share price of its Asian units amid the coronavirus pandemic.

While MUFG has made a large investment in Southeast Asian banks as Japan faces demographic decline and ultra-low interest rates, Chief Executive Hironori Kamezawa suggested a change was afoot in the lender’s overseas strategy.

“Since our investment phase is over, we are not considering making a big acquisition of commercial banks immediately but will harvest profits from the investments,” said Kamezawa, who took his post in April.

“I believe finance and other businesses will be fused in the future … I will use Grab‘s data to establish new credit models and provide financial services through the super-app.”

MUFG will start lending to Grab‘s users and drivers in Thailand from its local partner Bank of Ayudhya PCL by March, Kamezawa said, adding the new business model could be brought to Japan if successful.

MUFG has spent more than $14 billion to buy 94.1% of PT Bank Danamon Indonesia Tbk, 76.9% of Bank of Ayudhya, 20% of Security Bank Corp of the Philippines and 19.7% of Vietnam’s VietinBank.

The interview was conducted last week and embargoed for release on Monday.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.