By SOMLUCK SRIMALEE
THE Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand has set aside an investment budget that equates to 30 per cent of its net profit to invest in and support the research and development of small and medium-sized enterprises.
SME Bank chairwoman Salinee Wangtal said the bank reported a net profit of Bt181 million for April for a four-month total of Bt718 million.
She said the figure was due to a focus on quality of SMEs and the bank’s management had succeeded in reducing non-performing loans from Bt23.59 billion, or 26.16 per cent of its total loan as of January, to Bt20.95 billion, or 23.55 per cent of the total by April. This is part of its business plan to cut its NPLs to below Bt18 billion by the end of the year.
At the end of April, the bank had provided new loans to SMEs worth Bt12.15 billion, or 4,125 SMEs and an average of Bt2.95 million per client.
Salinee said the state-owned bank’s healthy finances prompted it to spend 30 per cent of its net profit to support SMEs – from producers of traditional products to producers of innovative products.
This is part of the government’s policy to drive Thailand to be an innovative economy.
In line with the policy, the bank yesterday signed an agreement with the Thailand Research Fund to provide a budget for the research and development of products for SMEs. Businesses with innovative products can apply for a loan, Salinee said.
Siwapat Wangpol, an owner and managing director of T&D Cosmetic Limited Partnership, a producer and distributor of cosmetic products under the T&D brand, said the company had joined the Thailand Research Fund programme to research and develop nano-technology for its products.
If this succeeds, the company plans to apply for a Bt1-million loan to get its products to market.