LOLC buys 60% stake in fifth largest Cambodian microfinance firm for $ 20.3 m

Tuesday, 16 September 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The LOLC Group announced yesterday it has acquired a 60% stake in Thaneakea Phum Cambodia (TPC), for $ 20.3 million. The acquisition was through LOLC’s fully-owned subsidiary, LOLC Micro Investments Ltd. (LOMI), which is the microfinance investment arm of LOLC. The LOLC Group has received all required regulatory approvals, including approvals from the Central bank of Sri Lanka, Ministry of Finance of Sri Lanka, National Bank of Cambodia and the Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia for the acquisition. TPC is the fifth largest microfinance company in Cambodia with a gross loan book of $ 100 m. TPC carries out its business operations through 52 branches distributed throughout Cambodia, with a total staff of 1,100 personnel and currently has a customer base of 170,000 microfinance borrowers. Further, it has a strong capital base and maintains a capital adequacy ratio of 16.8%, enabling the company to withstand potential shocks as well as providing a stable platform for strong growth. This is LOLC’s second overseas acquisition, having successfully established its maiden overseas venture in Cambodia in 2006 through its investment in PRASAC Micro Finance Institution Ltd. (PRASAC), the largest microfinance company in Cambodia. LOLC currently holds 22.25% of PRASAC. The company carries out its business operations through its network of 182 branches and total staff strength of 3,400 personnel. It has an active client base of 231,000 clients and a gross loan portfolio of $ 485 m and total assets of $ 585 m. The company is currently in line with projected earnings of $ 30 m for 2014. In addition to the above acquisitions, LOLC commenced operations of its microfinance company in Myanmar – LOLC Myanmar Micro-Finance Company Ltd. (LMML) – in 2013 as a green field operation. The LOLC Group was the first Sri Lankan organisation and the fourth international operator to commence operations in the Myanmar financial sector. Identifying the immense potential in emerging economies of the South East Asian region, particularly in the microfinance sectors of Myanmar and Cambodia, together with the Group’s ability to create an impact as a practitioner of microfinance as well as taking in to consideration the potential for growth in these markets as an active investor, LOLC secured its third overseas venture when it acquired the majority share in TPC. In 2008, LOLC decided to spin off its microfinance business unit as a separate company – LOLC Micro Credit Ltd. (LOMC). The Netherlands Development Finance Company FMO has been a shareholder of LOMC since its inception. LOMC was the first regulated microfinance institution in Sri Lanka with foreign equity partnership. Demonstrating its continuing commitment towards furthering its goals of financial inclusivity, in 2013, FMO, along with a consortium of development financial institutions, provided LOMC with a syndicated loan of $ 55.5 m, which is among the largest syndications by a microfinance institution globally. Further, LOMC is the only microfinance institution in Sri Lanka to have received the certification for its client protection principles from a recognised international body. Commenting on this significant milestone, LOLC Group Deputy Chairman Ishara Nanayakkara said: “The LOLC Group’s business expansion strategy is aimed at strengthening its core financial services business further. Within Sri Lanka, we have firmly and consistently held our position as the largest diversified Non-Bank Financial Institution to date whilst our top performing companies have each held strong footholds in diverse sectors of the country’s economy. We are pleased that we were able to take our strategies and expertise overseas and to strengthen our position in the regional microfinance sphere. We hope to continue to explore opportunities to expand our overseas presence beyond Myanmar and Cambodia.” Nanayakkara added: “The South East Asian region is a largely untapped market with immense potential for the financial services industry. The LOLC Group has a strong commitment towards financial inclusivity and will continue to pursue opportunities towards crystallising this vision.”