IFC proposes to extend $45m debt capital to two Bangladeshi companies

International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is proposing to provide a loan of $25 million to a unit of PRAN Group, one of Bangladesh’s branded food and beverage groups and among its largest agro-processors, according to a disclosure.

The project, which has a total project cost of approximately $56.8 million, involves shareholders including the family members of the late PRAN Group founder Major General Amjad Khan Chowdhury and his family members.

IFC said that by supporting PRAN unit Mymensingh Agro Limited’s (MAL) capacity to sustain operations during the current virus crisis, it seeks to support the private sector in facilitating the economic recovery process, shortening the time it will take for the most vulnerable to return to their traditional income-earning opportunities.

“The most significant, expected project-level outcome is helping the company maintain its operations thus preserving employment levels and economic activity throughout the value chain, especially through sourcing relationships with local farmers,” the international lender said.

PRAN Group is a well-known household brand in Bangladesh, and produces more than 400 food products in at least 10 major categories including juices and drinks, snacks, dairy, spices, confectionery and frozen foods. The group exports to 134 countries around the world.

In addition to MAL, IFC is also considering a loan of $20 million to Fiber@Home, a Bangladeshi wholesale fiber optic network developer and operator company, according to a disclosure.

The total project cost is expected to be approximately $35 million, to be financed with a combination of debt and internal accruals.

The proposed investment supports Fiber@Home to further expand its fiber optic cable network, increase network capacity through the upgradation of active equipment, provide network resilience via the development of redundancy at key network nodes, and also funding general working capital needs, including the development of related businesses such as data-centers, according to a disclosure.

Fiber@Home is majority-owned by Moynul Haque Siddiqui and Wahidul Haque Siddiqui and their family and affiliates, with several minority investors in the shareholding structure. The company has since developed over 48,000 km of fiber optic cable in the country across both metro city regions and cross-country networks.

According to the lender, its additionality in this project is both financial and non-financial. Financial additionality consists of providing longer tenor debt in a sector with limited availability of credit. Non-financial additionality involves the provision of knowledge and capacity building to support the company’s plan to expand into the business of data center.

“The loan supports the expansion of shared broadband infrastructure via competition in the wholesale transmission market, potentially enabling cost savings that could be passed through to end-users in terms of the lower retail price and resulting in higher uptake and usage of broadband internet,” the lender said in the disclosure.

Last year, IFC considered a proposal to invest $6.5 million in an integrated temperature-controlled logistics joint venture in Bangladesh. The project, which is backed by IFC InfraVentures and Bangladeshi agribusiness firm Golden Harvest, has a total cost of $21.7 million.

Previously, IFC proposed to provide a working capital facility and a five-year green loan of up to $65 million to United Commercial Bank Limited (UCB), one of the largest private-sector commercial banks in Bangladesh.

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.

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.