Indicative Year-to-Maturity: 5.458% (Indicative as of March 2)
Fundamental ViewAS OF 27 Feb 2023
Kasikornbank (KBank; Baa1(stb)/BBB(stb)/BBB(stb)) is a sound and historically profitable bank, partly supported by its SME book.
Margins are good as a result of its strong SME franchise, though NIMs have been steadily falling over the past 5 years as a result of strong competition and the bank’s efforts to diversify its exposure to a more balanced mix across the segments.
Capitalisation is strong and the bank has among the highest CASA ratios in the banking sector. However, asset quality took a surprise turn for the worse in Q4 of 2022, and some uncertainty to KBank’s asset quality trajectory remains in FY23.
Business DescriptionAS OF 23 Feb 2023
- Kbank is currently the second largest bank in Thailand. It briefly was the largest from 2018 until mid-2020, upon which Bangkok Bank completed its acquisition of Indonesia's Bank Permata and took its place.
- KBank's history can be traced back to 1945 when it was first established as Thai Farmers Bank. It was listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand in 1976 and changed its name to Kasikornbank in 2003.
- As of end-Sep 2022, the bank's loan mix by segment consists of 35% corporate, 32% SME, 28% retail and 5% others.
- KBank is known for its strong SME franchise. Its focus industries in SME are construction, construction materials, food & beverage, and hardware.
- It partially owns a life insurance company, Muang Thai Life.
Risk & CatalystsAS OF 27 Feb 2023
Worries over the SME segment typically finds KBank in the limelight given its SME focus. However, we expect support measures for SMEs to remain in place until the economy is back on a stable footing, given the importance of SMEs to the Thai economy.
Risks from prolonged forbearance measures and high household debt remain for the Thai banks, but our view on asset quality and margin pressure is more sanguine now as China’s earlier than expected reopening brightens the outlook for Thai tourism and overall growth this year, which in turn bodes well for consumer and SME health.
However, KBank’s asset quality trajectory is uncertain as management undertook a surprise sizable balance sheet cleanup in 4Q22 that led to credit costs exceeding guidance, and will continue with further cleanup efforts in 2023.
Key MetricsAS OF 22 May 2023
CreditSights ViewAS OF 24 Apr 2023
Kasikornbank is the 2nd largest bank in Thailand. We have been cautious about its one-third share of the loan book to SMEs given COVID-related loan restructuring and growth challenges, but have liked its high NIMs, strong capital, and ability to grow in tough times. Credit costs spiked in 4Q22 from a reassessment of risk in its legacy SME loans and higher yield small ticket SME and retail loans. The FY23 guidance is 175-200 bp which if contained within is manageable for the bank. Improved Thai economic growth this year would also help to mitigate AQ and margin pressure. However, we see uncertainty to its AQ trajectory as further cleanups are to be undertaken throughout 2023, and credit costs had a negative surprise again in Q1. We thus affirm our U/P reco.
Recommendation Reviewed: April 24, 2023
Recommendation Changed: October 12, 2022