The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private lending arm of the World Bank Group, has proposed to extend a loan of up to $40 million to Amret Company Limited, a deposit-taking microfinance institution (MFI) in Cambodia.
“The investment aims to support the company’s sustainable growth of its micro, small and medium loan portfolio,” IFC said in its disclosure.
Established in 1991, Amret caters to micro, small and medium enterprises and low-to-middle-income populations. It offers loan and deposit services to Cambodian individuals and businesses focused on agriculture and rural development. It currently covers 25 provinces and 297 districts across the country.
The proposed debt funding is a follow-on investment from IFC which is an existing investor in Amret. In 2015, IFC announced that it would pick up a 19.9 per cent stake in Amret with an equity investment of $15-20 million.
IFC followed up the equity round with an additional $10 million debt support to enable the MFI to step up lending to micro and smaller businesses.
Amret shareholders include Advans SA (52.78 per cent), Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden N.V. (FMO) and IFC, (19.99 per cent each), La Fayette Participations S.A.S and Botta Cambodia with 4.06 per cent and 3.17 per cent respectively.
Amret is the second-largest MFI in Cambodia after Prasac, the largest MFI in the country. Other leading MFI entities in the country such as Acleda, Sathapana and Camcapital have transitioned into banks.
IFC, which has been investing in Cambodia since 1997, had committed about $266 million in the country as of the end of 2017.