Mon. Sep 16th, 2019

BSP sets sight on the rest of Mekong region

PORT MORESBY, 29 MAY 2019 (POST COURIER) —- The Bank South Pacific (BSP) had made a successful entry into Cambodia in South East Asia and is eyeing further inroads into the Mekong region.

The region has three other countries on the bank’s radar – Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

The BSP board chairman Sir Kostas Constantinou revealed this to shareholders and the media at the banking group’s annual general meeting held last Friday in the National Capital District.

He likened the opportunities in the banking sector in the countries as similar to PNG’s marketplace, adding that the decision to move into the region had been planned over the past five years.

“One of the initiatives was we looked at the Mekong area in Asia. We matched it up and it was very similar to the criteria in PNG,” Sir Kostas said. “For us to go to places like Singapore, these places are developed.

“Hong Kong how can we compete, but we ave a unique advantage, we work in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, we work in the Sepik, we work in the most difficult places, getting staff, getting people, getting sales in these places.

“So we felt what is similar to Papua New Guinea and the nearest neighbour was in that whole Mekong area, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar.”

He said with the bank’s first setup with RMA Cambodia, to set up its first assets company.

“To date since we started there, the GDP growth in Cambodia is just escalating, we have only been operating for 12 odd months and making extremely good profits.

“The people of Cambodia are actually quiet amazed, this new finance company has come in, taken over and doing extremely well.

“So the decision we made was excellent and this all returns to shareholders and the money comes back to PNG.”

He said BSP’s operation into Laos is set to run by the end of 2019, adding the potential in the country is sufficient for positive returns.

“We hope to have it up and running by the end of the year, the same people with our JV partners RMA, the potential there is great, there are 4 million tourists that go in there,” Sir Kostas said.

“So it is a growing economy, like PNG is growing but the beauty is we have the knowledge on how to work in environments that grow.

“So far so good. Cambodia is doing extremely well so we expect that Laos will be excellent as well and in the fullness of time we will go to Myanmar.

“The greatest thing is the returns will come back to Papua New Guinea. We have done the Pacific, but there is a few other places we could go to, BSP needs to keep expanding,” he said. (PACNEWS)