"5 PIBA - UNIQUE IN THE MARKET australia CS •Ni Qj CS WHAT'S NewS Issue 1 January 1996 13 appointment as state manager of corporate banking 'was a response to the growing number of opportunities for the type of tailor-made products we have to offer the market here.' The Auckland branch will open in early 1996. 'This is an exciting move for us,' says Chris Abbenhuis, 'because there's a great potential market for corporate finance in New Zealand.' EXPERT STAFF RAL is not only pursuing a clear policy of expansion. It is also sticking to its philosophy of recruiting specialist staff. 'It's one of our strengths, Abbenhuis beleives. 'If you bring in people with agribusiness backgrounds, then F.l.t.r. Rik van Slingelandt, Chris Abbenhuis, Andrew Davison and lan Charlton. you also bring in their networks of contacts and individual expertise in various commodities. Our clients feel comfortable dealing with people who understand their business and that is what we want.' Among the specialist staff recruited this year are Bernie Webb who joined the bank as senior manager trade finance, and Tony O'Connor to head up agri-project finance. 'I've used my time this year to build contacts,' says O'Connor, 'and to market our products to prospects. We're now looking at four major transaction which we hope to complete by early this year.' NON-FOOD FOCUS But F&A is not RAL's sole focus. 'We're also looking very carefully at non-food areas, in line with Rabobank international strategy,' Abbenhuis says. 'One of our most recent deals was for the Ramsey Health Care Group, a national organization, which established us as a player in this sector. We're taking it slowly and feeling our way. But I think you can expect some significant results in the non-food areas by this time next year.' The Primary Industry Bank of Australia, or the rural division, as it is known more prosaically in the RAG network, has carved itself a very strong niche. As the only specialist rural lender in Australia and New Zealand, it occupies a prominent position in F&A. But it is a position which is constantly under threat. Managing director Mike Walter explains why and what PIBA is doing about it. 'We are truly a specialist bank in more ways than one,' he says. 'We offer not only long term finance to our customers in both countries. But we do it in partnership with them. They are committed to growing their business over the long-term and increasing their asset base, usually by purchasing more productive land and/or off-farm investment property. We see our role as helping them achieve that growth.' FIERCE COMPETITION While PIBA has built up a reputation for excellence, it can never be complacent. 'This year, we've achieved excellent volumes in new lending,' Walter confirms, 'but we're also contending with vastly increased competition, particularly in the dairy industry in both Australia and New Zealand. Many new lenders are entering the market aggressively, using price as their main lever. We are fighting back, using the quality of our products and our expertise. This is the real added value we can offer our customers so we must never lose sight of the kind of service we aim to provide.' BEATING TARGETS In spite of growing competition, PIBA has turned in very good numbers over 1995. 'New lending is at 144 percent of budget,' Walter says, 'which is obviously well ahead of target. But you have to remember that the Last year the network was expanded by four new offices in Australia and New Zealand with three openings slated for 1996. expansion of our branch network from nine last year to 16 by early 1996 has played a role here. We're physically closer to our customers now and we're also opening up new markets in the Northern Territory and Tasmania.' HORTICULTURAL GROWTH PIBA's target market is the top 25 percent of farmers in both Australia and New Zealand. It finances all traditional commoditities, but is moving increasingly into horticultural industries. 'There are certainly opportunities for us in commodities,' says Walter, 'but I'd say the single biggest area for growth is horticulture, especially where it is practised on a broad-acre scale. The PIBA In de wandelgangen ook wel de plattelandsdivisie genoemd, heeft een prominente positie in de Australische en Nieuwzeelands primaire sector. De bank ondervindt echter in toenemende mate concurrentie, met name in de zuivelindustrie. PIBA vecht echter terug met de kwaliteit en de grote expertise die ze in huis heeft. De resultaten over 1995 zijn veelbelovend, mede als gevolg van de uitbreiding van het kantorennetwerk van negen naar zestien. Groei wordt met name verwacht in de financiering van de tuinbouwsectoren de financiering van veehouders die grote stukken grond kopen.

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blad 'What's news' (EN) | 1996 | | pagina 13