Band Takashi Umekawa and Takaya Yamaguchi
TOKYO, July 13 (Reuters) – Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc of Japan 8306.T will begin loaning to Grab users and drivers in Thailand to monetize its $ 706 million investment in the ridesharing company as its domestic market growth slumps, its chief executive said.
MUFG agreed to invest in Grab in February, but incurred a one-time charge of around 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.
As MUFG has made a significant investment in Southeast Asian banks as Japan faces population decline and ultra-low interest rates, Managing Director Hironori Kamezawa has suggested that a change was ongoing in the lender’s overseas strategy.
“Since our investment phase is over, we do not plan to make a large acquisition of commercial banks anytime soon, but we will reap the benefits of the investments,” said Kamezawa, who took office in April. .
“I think finance and other businesses will merge in the future… I will use the data from Grab to build new lending models and deliver financial services through the super app.”
MUFG to start loaning Grab users and drivers in Thailand from local partner Bank of Ayudhya PCL BAY.BK by March, Kamezawa said, adding that the new business model could be introduced in Japan if successful.
MUFG spent over $ 14 billion to buy 94.1% of PT Bank Danamon Indonesia Tbk BDMN.JK, 76.9% of Bank of Ayudhya, 20% of Security Bank Corp SECB.PS of the Philippines and 19.7% of the VietinBank of Vietnam CTG.HM.
The interview was conducted last week and under embargo for publication on Monday.
(Reporting by Takashi Umekawa and Takaya Yamaguchi; editing by Stephen Coates)
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