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Agriculture

Thailand's KBank teams with Japan lender to develop food industry

Tokyo-based Norinchukin Bank expands its regional presence via the partnership

A strawberry farm in Thailand: Kasikornbank, which has its roots as a farm lender, plans to help local agricultural companies move up the value chain.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- Thailand's Kasikornbank and Japan's Norinchukin Bank will pool their strengths in agricultural finance, offering joint lending and other services to farm and food-related businesses.

The two banks, which signed a broad partnership on Monday, also look to match clients in both countries to support deals such as technology transfers as well as merger and acquisition consulting.

Kasikornbank, known as KBank, aims to support domestic startups and help companies move up the value chain in the agricultural industry. The lender, formerly known as Thai Farmers Bank, ranked second among Thai commercial banks by asset value at the end of 2018.

Norinchukin Bank, the financial arm of Japan's agricultural cooperatives, seeks stronger ties with financial institutions in Southeast Asia. The lender has forged partnerships with Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam and with BDO Unibank in the Philippines. By participating in joint financing, Norinchukin Bank hopes to snag demand for funds by local corporations.

Norinchukin's expansion efforts will benefit from KBank operating branches beyond Thailand, in countries such as China, Cambodia and Laos.

The Japanese bank established "AgVenture Lab" in May 2019 to develop new businesses in the farm and food sectors and is exploring partnership options in the industry.

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