FSMART lines up fuel vending machines for grassroots

THARITTAWAT SAMEJAIDEE

MAI-listed Forth Smart Service Plc (FSMART), the country's largest top-up machine provider under the Boonterm brand, is set to launch fuel vending machines this month to tap low-income people living far from petrol stations.

Narongsak Lertsuptavee, managing director of FSMART, said the company has received a permit licence to sell fuel via the vending machines.

"This service will serve grassroots people who may fill tanks with only a small amount of petrol or cannot reach stations easily," he said. "They can fill their tanks via our vending machines."

The company plans to set up 2,000 vending machines this year.

"We hope the vending machines receive good feedback within the first two months," Mr Narongsak said. Top-up and online payment Boonterm kiosks account for 51% of the 256,357 machines across the country.

Mr Narongsak said 23 million people use Boonterm kiosks with 1.7 million transactions a day.

"Our main customers are grassroots people with low income," he said. "They do not have bank or savings accounts."

FSMART also provides money transaction services through Boonterm kiosks, including money transfers and deposits. The company serves as a banking agent for six commercial banks.

About 1.1 million transactions were recorded per month in the final quarter of last year. The number jumped to 1.4 million in the first quarter of this year, up 44.3% year-on-year and 21.4% quarterly.

"Our platform performed well in drawing grassroots people to access banking services," Mr Narongsak said. "The growth is significant."

Referring to beverage vending machines under the Boonterm brand, he said purchases continue to grow each year.

Some 2.3 million beverage bottles were sold via the company's 3,794 vending machines per month in the first quarter this year, up 39.8% from the same period a year earlier.

Late last year, the company embarked on a lending service. Its outstanding loans are 95 million baht, with a non-performing loan ratio of 0.3%.

FSMART booked 729 million baht in revenue in the first quarter, down 8.8% year-on-year.

The company posted 127 million baht in profit, down from 150 million baht in the same quarter a year earlier, weighed down by the coronavirus pandemic in the first quarter, Mr Narongsak said.

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