UOB achieves target of doubling cross-border corporate loans

Singapore lender United Overseas Bank said on Tuesday it has achieved its target of doubling its cross-border corporate loans ahead of schedule.

The bank declined to reveal absolute numbers, but said at a briefing that it reached its goal in December last year, six months earlier than expected.

UOB had set up its foreign direct investment (FDI) advisory unit in June 2011 to grow cross-border corporate loans, and had then set a three-year target to double its loan quantums.

Companies from China are the fastest-growing group of clients for the unit, making up more than 50 per cent of the flows, the bank said.

Singapore companies are mainly investing in lower-cost manufacturing bases in the region, such as Iskandar in Malaysia, said UOB executive director Sam Cheong.

Firms here are also investing in resource-rich Indonesia and frontier market Myanmar.

Mr Cheong said Myanmar in particular is garnering interest from more companies around the region.

"It is now a hot spot in Asia for investment and expansion plans. Its favourable geographical position and large population of 60 million, make it suitable for businesses looking to take advantage of trade flows and to build new customer bases."