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Centrum Group buys business ops of microlender Altura
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Mumbai-based financial services group Centrum has acquired the business operations of New Delhi-headquartered microlender Altura Financial Services Ltd through its unit Centrum MicroCredit Ltd.

Centrum MicroCredit said in a statement that it had made the acquisition via a slump sale, without disclosing the financial details of the transaction.

As part of the agreement, Centrum MicroCredit will acquire Altura’s entire portfolio as well as its branch network, and retain all the company’s employees. Centrum MicroCredit chairman Ranjan Ghosh said the acquisition would help further the company’s mission of providing credit and other relevant financial services to low-income households.

Altura has a loan portfolio of over Rs 90 crore and over 45,000 customers with 48 branches and more than 220 employees in several parts of the country including Rajasthan, West Bengal, Gujarat, Odisha, Haryana and Chhattisgarh.

Following the acquisition, Centrum MicroCredit will have a loan book of around Rs 400 crore across 126 branches and around 200,000 clients. The larger Centrum Group entered the microfinance segment in 2017 after acquiring FirstRand Bank Ltd’s microfinance business in India.

FirstRand, which is a subsidiary of South Africa-headquartered FirstRand Ltd, ran the microfinance business in Maharashtra, catering to around 70,000 customers with an average loan size of around Rs 20,000.

According to its website, Centrum MicroCredit was set up to provide loans to low-income women entrepreneurs in semi-urban areas. The larger Centrum Group, founded in 1997, is an integrated financial services group that provides services in several segments in the larger industry, including equity and debt, equity capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, primary and secondary debt placement and corporate debt restructuring.

In October, the group’s arm – Centrum Alternative Investment Managers Ltd – marked the first close of its maiden fund at Rs 155 crore ($21.82 million then). Centrum said it is looking to raise Rs 500 crore for the Centrum Credit Opportunities Fund, along with a greenshoe option to raise another Rs 250 crore.

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