Japanese Motorcycle Loan Firm Expands

Row of motorcycles
Group Lease, a Japanese-owned motorcycle loan firm, plans to acquire leasing companies in Vietnam and Indonesia. The acquisition was implemented due to an increase in motorcycle sales in both countries.

Group Lease (GL) Chairman and chief executive officer Mitsuji Konoshita predicts that the total acquisition will cost about 8 billion baht (about $260.6 million) as a part of the larger expansion. GL, Thailand’s third-largest motorcycle-leasing firm, predicts even further growth after the launch of the Asean Economic Community in 2015: a geo-political and economic organization of 10 Southeast Asian countries. Asean’s population is around 601 million and 70 percent of people use motorcycles as their main form of transportation.

“If the takeover plan is a success, then once our customers reach 1 million from 100,000 at present, GL’s market capitalisation (sic) will increase to 35 billion baht (about $1.14 billion) from 4 billion (about $130.3 million),” Konoshita said in a release. “The 1-million milestone will correspond with GL’s corporate vision of becoming the leading Asean regional finance company.”

The motorcycle loan firm is also looking into expanding business into Laos and Myanmar.

The firm is planning to fund the new business by sharing swaps, borrowing from foreign banks, increasing capital or securing the target company’s loan portfolio. GL’s current network of business is located in Thailand, Cambodia, and Singapore. While the majority of the revenue is currently generated from the Thai market, Konoshita predicts the Cambodian market could overtake Thailand’s market as the customer base grows.

“The Cambodian market is particularly promising because we were the first company to start up a motorcycle-leasing business there,” Konoshita said in a release.

GL has already secured a Cambodian partnership with Honda NCX. The grouping will enable GL to provide financing services to the customers of Honda dealerships. Due to Honda’s head status in the motorcycle industry, it will greatly impact the company.

“This means GL will provide financing for all Cambodian consumers walking into any Honda shop,” Konoshita said.

On average, one in eight Cambodians owns a motorcycle today. Within the next few years, that ratio is expected to increase to one in four. For most, ownership of one of these vehicles necessitates the need for a motorcycle loan. In Thailand, GL currently has over 100,000 motorcycle loans, which is expected to double within three years.

Konoshita said GL is not only prepared to handle the influx of new motorcycle loan, but also has aspirations of offering other financial products.

“Once we achieve the status of an Asean regional finance company, the products for financing will not just be motorcycles,” he said. “They can be a second motorcycle for the family or a broad range of other goods and services available in the huge microfinancing market in Asean.”