Tuesday, February 9, 2010

AFB targets RM600m loans for cross-border deals

by Lee Cherng Wee
Asian Finance Bank Bhd (AFB) aims to loan out RM600 million to cross-border deals in 2010 as it increases its exposure in financing international projects. The bank’s cross-border financing is expected to make up 40% of RM1.5 billion that the bank aims to loan out this year, said AFB’s CEO Datuk Mohamed Azahari Kamil in a press conference last Friday.
This year’s portion of crossborder financing is expected to increase more than double from 22% of its RM1 billion approved loans in 2009, he said. For 2010, Azahari expects the bank to sustain a positive performance after achieving its maiden profit in the third quarter of 2009.
"We have done a lot of deals in the market, particularly on new credits that we have extended. We are working very closely with Malaysian parties for the development of their projects in the Middle East," he said.
Azahari added that AFB is currently providing funding to a Malaysian company for the exploration and production of oil in Oman and also assisting the development of infrastructure with respect to toll operations on the Luzon Expressway in the Philippines.
AFB also has a representative office in Indonesia that provides funding to infrastructure and oil and gas projects, he said. "There are another two to three deals in the pipeline and we are working on the feasibility of the projects. There are also interest from Middle Eastern parties to invest in oil refineries in Malaysia," he said.
On expansion, AFB plans to open a new branch in Kuching in the second half of this year, pending approval from Bank Negara Malaysia. Azahari said the Kuching office will tap into the markets in Brunei, Sabah, Sarawak and Kalimantan. AFB currently has two offices in Kuala Lumpur and Johor Baru.

(This story appeared in The Malaysian Reserve on 8 Feb 2010. The Malaysian Reserve is a daily business/finance newspaper published out of Kuala Lumpur, with a sectoral page on Islamic finance on Mondays, edited by Habhajan Singh)

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