London, April 1, 2015 – PROPARCO, the French Development Finance Institution, and GRET, an international NGO for fair development, under French law, have disposed of a combined 36% equity stake in Amret. The stake has been sold to a consortium consisting of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) alongside two existing shareholders, Advans S.A., SICAR and FMO, the Dutch counterpart of PROPARCO. The sellers were advised by Enclude Capital Advisory UK Limited, Enclude’s capital advisory services business.
Created by GRET in 1991 in the form of an experimental project to deliver microcredit to the rural population and duly registered with the Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia as a private limited company in 2000, Amret has become one of the largest dedicated MFIs in Cambodia with an outstanding loan portfolio of about US$ 288m and over 300k borrowers as at 31 December 2014. It is one of only seven MFIs in the country licensed to accept deposits. At the same time, Amret has adhered closely to its mission of financial inclusion, providing a wide-range of financial products and services to low income people as well as micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises.
Led by its experienced management team, Amret is well-placed to expand further into financially underserved Cambodian villages and provinces as well as into urban centres, rolling out new products.
This investment enables Advans S.A. to become the majority shareholder of Amret, with Amret now becoming a full subsidiary of the Advans group. This will strengthen the synergies between the Advans group and Amret, and allow Advans to work more closely with the institution. The investment by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, will further diversify the shareholder base and will help Amret to improve its corporate governance and disclosure standards to support its sustained growth.
Enclude acted as sole financial advisor and Gide Loyrette Nouel as the main legal advisor to the sellers in the transaction.
General Manager of GRET, Olivier Bruyeron said: “Amret’s experience is evidence of the efficiency of Overseas Development Aid (ODA) to experiment with models whose social goal can’t survive with a market-focused approach. In the ‘90s, believing it was possible for an institution to achieve financial equilibrium by lending few amounts to poor people in rural areas was not easy! We are proud, as NGO, to have contributed to the success of Amret. We are confident to have found the right owners to support Amret during the next steps in its growth without losing its social aim.”
Amret’s CEO, Mr Chea Phalarin added: “We are excited to welcome IFC to our shareholder-base and are grateful for the endorsement from our existing shareholders, Advans and FMO, in this transaction. I am confident that the current ownership will enable us to move to the next stage in our development and continue our mission of financial inclusion.”
Managing Director of Capital Advisory Services at Enclude, Steven van Weede, said: “Enclude is delighted to have been part of another important transaction in the sector. This adds to our extensive track record in responsible exits, where we work with clients not only to maximise value, but also to ensure that the incoming shareholders are aligned with the institution’s mission, values and vision, and have the right strategic fit to secure long-term sustainability.”