‘Financing Sri Lanka’s Development’: Investor forum on debt capital alternatives for SME sector

Monday, 23 December 2013 00:50 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

In order to provide local market participants with more information regarding the deal and other debt market initiatives, a half-day seminar titled ‘Financing Sri Lanka’s Development’ – an investor forum on debt capital alternatives for the SME sector, organised by Softlogic Finance PLC, in collaboration with GuarantCo, was held on 18 December at The Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo. The program was designed to educate the attendees on availability of alternatives as well as providing an impetus to the local debt markets, to assist its participants to pursue such alternatives through regulatory frameworks and to substantially increase the development of the SME sector of Sri Lanka. The keynote address at the event was delivered by the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Ajith Nivard Cabraal and the audience comprised institutional investors, prospective NBFI issuers, debt market intermediaries and regulators. The GuarantCo concept GuarantCo is owned by the PIDG members through the PIDG Trust and, in the case of DGIS, through FMO. The GuarantCo concept came from the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), which is a multi-donor, member-managed organisation. Current PIDG members include: the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs (DGIS), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the World Bank, the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), Irish Aid, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), and the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAid). GuarantCo is run and managed on a commercial basis by Frontier Markets Fund Managers Ltd. (FMFML), which is owned by Standard Bank Group, FMO and Emerging Markets Partnership (EMP). FMFML has primary responsibility for the overall management of GuarantCo. DFI’s that undertake financing in developing markets such as Sri Lanka require local lending institutions to maintain impeccable operating standards and adopt international best practices in order to secure these transactions and Softlogic Finance is pleased to have established its credentials in this regard. Softlogic Finance has specialist knowledge and expertise in the SME sector, and this funding line will be utilized to develop relationships with customers who require financial assistance, to build their businesses and improve their livelihoods. Benefiting the SME segment Chairman of Softlogic Finance Ashok Pathirage commenting on the occasion said: “With the NBFI sector now aiming at the Rs. 1 trillion mark, we are happy to share our fund mobilisation expertise and contacts with other market participants and expect the extremely productive program to ultimately benefit the very important SME segment of Sri Lanka.” Softlogic Finance PLC – is a part of the Softlogic Group, is a Registered Finance Company under Finance Business Act No. 42 of 2011. as well as being a Specialised Leasing Company, licensed by the Central Bank of Sri Lanka under the Finance Leasing Act No. 56 of 2000. The principal lines of businesses include leasing and hire purchase, fixed deposits and savings, personal loans, business loans, gold loans, and flexible financial solutions to suit individual needs and requirements so that no particular boundaries are set to the sphere of activities of the company.