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Thai SCB expects 2011 lending up 10-12 pct    
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Source : Reuters Africa

GKOK, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Siam Commercial Bank Pcl (SCB), Thailand's fourth-largest lender, targets loan growth this year of 10-12 percent based on Thailand's economic growth forecast of 4 percent, the bank's president said.

Thailand's most valuable lender also expected its return on equity to rise to 17 percent this year, from 16.4 percent last year, Kannikar Chalitoporn told reporters late on Wednesday.

"Lending should grow from all sectors, such as big companies, small-and-medium enterprises and retail customers, because of economic expansion and the upcoming election," Kannikar said.

"There are large big-sized companies expanding their business this year and investing in overseas markets, which would boost loan demand."

On Wednesday, Thailand's Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said the country could hold elections by June.

SCB's lending could outperform the industry which is forecast to grow 6-8 percent, Kannikar said, adding loan expansion should boost its fee income 15 percent this year.

The bank is advising on an acquisition worth 50-60 billion baht (S1.63-$1.96 billion)in the petrochemical industry and expected to conclude the deal within a month, said Senior Executive Vice President Arthid Nanthawithaya.

SCB is a financial advisor for Sahaviriya Steel Industries Pcl , which is buying a plant in Britain worth $500 million.

It is also advising Italian-Thai Development Pcl on an $8 billion deal with Myanmar for a port and infrastructure project in Dawei, Arthid Nanthawithaya added.

Despite higher interest rates, the bank expected its net interest margins to stay flat this year at 3.63 percent as it has to raise both deposit and lending rates, Kannikar said.

The bank also expected its non-performing loans ratio at below 3 percent this year, compared with 3.25 percent at the end of last year, helped by debt restructuring, she added.

SCB shares opened about 1 percent lower on Thursday at 93 baht, underperforming the main Thai index . ($1=30.67 Baht) (Reporting by Manunphattr Dhanananphorn; Writing by Arada Kultawanich; Editing by Dhara Ranasinghe)

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