Business Strategy and Outlook| Michael Wu, CAIA |
As one of three dominant banks in Singapore and a branch network and offices spanning 19 countries, we believe United Overseas Bank, or UOB, is in a strong position to capture regional growth in Asia. Established in 1935, the bank broadened its reach in the region through both acquisitions and organic growth. Its most recent acquisition of size was Citi’s consumer business in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam in 2022. UOB's customer base is expected to double in the regions. We believe the transaction is also complementary from a product standpoint as Citi's strength is in unsecured lending and presents cross-selling opportunities in the new customer base. Future acquisitions are possible, but we expect a prudent approach, with bolt-on acquisition or partnerships as it expands into new regions. Previously, UOB acquired a 23% interest in PT Bank Buana in Indonesia before increasing its stake and merging it with UOB's local operation. Alternatively, the bank is launching a digital bank to penetrate existing operations in Southeast Asia.