Finnfund extends $5.5m senior loan to Myanmar’s Early Dawn Microfinance 

Sule Pagoda, Yangon, Myanmar. Photo: Harish Shivaraman/Unsplash

Finland’s development finance institution Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation Ltd (Finnfund) said Tuesday it has made a $5.5-million senior loan investment in Early Dawn Microfinance Co., Ltd. (DAWN), the third-largest MFI in Myanmar in terms of client outreach.

This is Finnfund’s third investment in the microfinance sector in Myanmar, one of the poorest countries of Southeast Asia where almost 70 per cent of the population lacks access to formal financial service.

The financing will support DAWN’s expansion in underserved townships and peri-urban areas, according to a statement.

DAWN is registered with the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Industry and operates with a deposit-taking license granted by the Financial Regulatory Department.

The rapidly expanding microfinance market in Myanmar presents interesting opportunities for impact investors like Finnfund.

“Finnfund’s investment supports our vision of becoming the best microfinance institution in Myanmar, improving the lives of the families we serve”, says DAWN CEO Ravi Tissera said. “Thanks to our extensive branch network, we are able to reach even the most vulnerable groups in rural areas.”

“During the pandemic, DAWN acted quickly in mobilising a COVID-19 response team and rolling out a business continuity plan,” Finnfund’s Investment Manager Ulla-Maija Rantapuska said. “They have not only minimised the impact on their business but also limited the disruption to clients’ businesses.”

DAWN has for example created a new product called “Emergency Top-Up Loan” to support clients’ businesses that have been impacted negatively by the pandemic. The company has also rescheduled repayments, provided prepaid loans and set up help desks in response to the pandemic.

DAWN, one of the earliest MFIs established in Myanmar, was originally launched in 2002 as a programme under Save the Children International.

In 2015, Accion International, Dutch development bank FMO, and Triodos Investment Management formed a consortium and invested in DAWN to set it up as an institution that could serve as a model for the country’s nascent microfinance industry.

Singapore Reporter/s

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Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.