Catcha-backed auto portal iCar Asia raises $19m in new funds

Malaysia’s Catcha Group-backed auto portal iCar Asia Limited has raised an additional funding of $18.96 million (AU$25.5 million) as the Australia-listed company preps itself to expand to new car sale segments, auto financing and insurance services.

In an announcement on Wednesday at the ASX, the company disclosed a AU$10 million non-renouncable rights issue and also said it will draw a AU$5 million secured loan facility from Catcha Group for working capital.

Further, eligible shareholders will also receive one attaching unlisted option for each new share subscribed under the Rights Issue, exercisable at AU$0.20 until an expiry date of 18 months from the date of issue, the exchange filing said. It also announced new Options issued under the Offer and Options to be issued to Catcha Group which can be exercised over a period of time.

Following the new offer, iCar Asia will have access to up to AU$41 million in funding including existing cash balance as at end September this year, funds raised and all options assumed to be exercised.

The latest fund raise comes more than a year after the company raised $17.4 million of new capital through placement of ordinary shares to institutional investors in September last year.

Operating in Southeast Asia a market with a population of more than 600 million, iCar Asia currently owns seven automotive portals across three countries – Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

The investment will be used for product development and operations.

 “The investment will also be channeled towards investing in sales and operations to support the roll-out of the transactional new car business. The company will look at expanding into adjacent market segments including auto finance, insurance, inspection and warranty services,” said iCar Asia.

The company saw a 12 per cent growth in new and used car listings per month in September 2017 compared to September 2016 to over 73,000 listings and 15 per cent growth in total paid accounts September 2017 compared to September 2016 to over 5,000 accounts.

“Our year on year growth in September 2017 across all our portals has resulted in a 47% spike in leads generated for our customers and shows the great increase in the engagement with our digital marketplaces. This increase in leads in turn helped deliver an increase of 12% in the number of listings and at the same time a 15% surge in paying accounts,” said Hamish Stones, CEO of iCar Asia

In Malaysia, the company recently launched a fresh new car section, including a chatbot named Ari to assist new car buyers in getting the most relevant information and the best deals in town.

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