Hong Leong Finance set up to support SMEs

The late founder of Hong Leong Group, Mr Kwek Hong Png, set up Hong Leong Finance in 1966 with the aim of supporting small local firms during uncertain times.

The company then had a paid-up capital of $6.04 million and 17 employees. Just three years later, it went public on the Singapore and Malaysia Stock Exchange.

In 1979, Hong Leong Finance bought Singapore Finance, which was founded in 1961 and later listed on the Stock Exchange of Singapore in 1974. The two companies merged in 2001.

Today, Hong Leong Finance has grown to become Singapore's largest finance company, with a 79 per cent market share in loans and deposits as of Dec 31 last year. The company, with 28 branches across Singapore and 662 staff, posted a net profit of $62.8 million last year.

The counter has a market value of $1.13 billion.

As the financial services arm of the conglomerate, Hong Leong Finance forms a substantial part of Hong Leong Group's overall business scope, which includes real estate, hotels and trade and industry.

Hong Leong Group is now helmed by the second generation of the Kwek family, with Mr Kwek Leng Beng as executive chairman.

It ranks among Asia's largest and most successful conglomerates, managing over $40 billion in diversified premium assets, including 13 companies listed in seven stock exchanges globally. It has developed over 130 residential properties and over 100 premium commercial, hotel and mixed-use developments.

Jacqueline Woo

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 11, 2015, with the headline 'Hong Leong Finance set up to support SMEs'. Print Edition | Subscribe