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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - FTB assets rose 5pc in 2009

FTB assets rose 5pc in 2009

Troubled bank that had 32pc NPL rate in 2008 opens Sihanoukville port branch

PREAH SIHANOUK PROVINCE
FOREIGN Trade Bank of Cambodia (FTB) assets rose to US$275 million in 2009, a 5 percent increase from 2008, while gross loans and advances to customers climbed to $108 million, a 7 percent rise for the same period, according to the bank’s annual figures.

“We saw that during the hard time of the global economic crisis, our total assets rose, FTB’s general manager, Gui Anvanith, told the Post Friday during the launch of a new branch of the bank at Sihanoukville Autonomous Port. “This was because prior to the … crisis we were already careful with many of our services, to avoid many large impacts.

“Now the difficulties have gone, and we’re left with a lot of money to provide loans, and that’s why we’ve seen our loans also increase,” he said.

Annual figures for the bank show a rise in capital to $33 million, 17 percent shareholder equity growth, to $42 million, and a 2 percent increase in deposits, to $227 million.

The bank is now assessing its non-performing loans (NPL) and profit, with an audit expected next week, Gui Anvanith said.

“We have not finished the audit, but we know that NPL and profit are much better than a year earlier,” he said.

The FTB posted a massive non-performing loan ratio of 32 percent for the end of 2008, by far the largest in the country. By comparison, Canadia Bank, which retains a stake in the FTB, is aiming for a 4 percent NPL ratio this year. The 2008 NPL ratio for ANZ Royal Bank was 2.6 percent.

Nevertheless, Gui Anvanith said the FTB would continue to grow as the global and Cambodian economies recover.

The bank had not decided whether to make loans in the real-estate sector, he said, but “will support any customers who have a solid business background”.

The new branch in Preah Sihanouk province will also help the bank, he added. The port branch will provide a “one-stop service” for port activities and will offer banking services to traders and investors, he said.

FTB’s port branch is part of a strategy to differentiate FTB from other banks in the coastal province, which typically operate near markets in Sihanoukville town.

“Where is the heart of the economic activity of Sihanoukville?” he said. “The answer is the port.”

Port Director General Lou Kim Chhun said the facility was “the main economic gateway for the country”, the site of many companies and of trade activities, but that it needed a bank.

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