F88, a Hanoi-headquartered pawn shop operator backed by Vietnam-focused private equity firm Mekong Capital, has raised a new round of financing from Dublin-based investor Granite Oak Advisors.
Financial details of the investment were not disclosed but F88 said the funding valued the firm at nearly VND1 trillion ($43.5 million).
This is the first deal by Granite Oak in Vietnam. The firm has invested in emerging markets in Europe and Africa across sectors spanning hotels, leisure, commercial projects and finance.
It also runs a debt advisory arm that specialises in raising money and debt with a strong network of financial institutions and debt funds, according to information provided by F88.
Founded in 2013, F88 has to date 45 stores in northern Vietnam and is expanding into southern Ho Chi Minh City with three new outlets.
The new investment will assist its growth in the new market, as well as increase loans from the 45 stores in the north, according to Phung Anh Tuan, chairman-cum-CEO of F88.
The company targets to open 300 stores across the country by 2021.
F88 said it had VND600 billion in lending in 2017 and anticipated to increase the figure to VND1 trillion this year.
“Vietnam’s consumer lending market is newly developed, highly fragmented and has large room for growth. We decided to invest in F88 to scale up the company to capture the growth,” said Simon Wagner, CEO of Granite Oak.
F88 was the first company in Vietnam to establish a pawn shop chain. Mekong Capital announced its investment in the firm in 2017 from its Mekong Enterprise Fund III.
The private equity firm, which earlier in 2018 exited its most successful investment in retailer Mobile World at a 57x multiple, has an approach to generate at least a 5x return on each investment.
Mekong Capital has been investing in Vietnam’s consumer sector since its inception in 2001.