International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has proposed to invest up to $25 million in Hattha Kaksekar Limited (HKL), a microfinance institution in Cambodia, in the form of a senior loan.
The proposed loan aims to support HKL’s working capital and trade-related lending program to MSMEs in Cambodia as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. About 30 per cent of the loan is targeted at women and women-owned businesses, IFC said in a disclosure.
HKL, established in 1994, is 100-per cent owned by Bank Ayudhya, the fifth-largest commercial bank in Thailand. The Thai bank is 76.88-per cent owned is a subsidiary of Japanese banking conglomerate Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group.
In 2001, HKL received a license to operate as a limited company to provide credit and saving services and it turned into a microfinance deposit-taking institution in 2010.
Currently, the Phnom Penh-based company is providing diversified financial services to micro and small businesses and consumers. As of April 30, 2020, the MFI operates with an asset base of around $1.25 billion, serving close to 152,200 borrowers, according to IFC.
“The project (loan) intends to provide up to $25 million of liquidity to HKL, which will then be on lend to approximately 3,000 MSME clients,” IFC said, adding that the access to finance will help MSMEs sustain operations and expedite post-crisis recovery.
Cambodia has more than 450,000 micro-entrepreneurs and about 27,500 SMEs, generating about 1.6 million jobs, IFC said. Since 2015, IFC has invested nearly $80 million in HKL.
“Our involvement has allowed HKL to broaden its reach and serve a greater proportion of these entrepreneurs through a robust and well-established rural network,” it added.
In March, HKL also received an $18 million senior loan commitment from German development finance institution Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG).
According to the German lender, the loan will help HKL fund MSMEs in Cambodia where the financial sector is still underdeveloped, particularly in rural areas access to finance is insufficient.