Microlender ASA International gets debt capital from German impact investor
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ASA International India Microfinance Ltd (ASAI-India) has raised €10 million ($11.11 million or Rs 79.20 crore) in debt capital from Invest In Visions GmbH, a Germany-based impact investor.

The overseas borrowing deal marks the first foreign currency transaction for the Kolkata-based microlender, according to a press statement.

Vivriti Capital, a customised debt marketplace for institutional clients, was the external adviser to ASAI-India on the transaction. The microlender raised the capital through CredAvenue, Vivriti’s online enterprise debt platform.

Garima Gupta, Vivriti Capital’s head of offshore investor coverage, said in the statement the investment in ASAI-India proved that India offered both attractive investments and returns in the microfinance sector.

Invest In Visions, which is based in Frankfurt, manages the IIV Mikrofinanzfonds fund. It was advised by Agents For Impact, which is also based in Frankfurt and offers research and advisory services to impact investors.

“It was of utmost importance for us to see that ASA International India doesn’t only display strong financial performance indicators and credit rating, but that it also ranked among the best in terms of sustainability with regards to the United Nations´ Sustainable Development Goals,” AFI chief executive officer Andrij Fetsun said.

ASAI-India, which began operations in 2008, has a presence in seven states – West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Meghalaya and Odisha.

The MFI says it has more than a million active borrowers from low-income households in urban and rural parts of the country. According to its website, its products include primary and special loans to women, as well as business loans with a ticket size between Rs 61,000 and Rs 1 lakh.

In January 2016, IDFC Bank picked up a 9.99% stake in ASA International India Microfinance for Rs 8.5 crore ($1.3 million) in one of its first investments after starting operations as a private-sector lender. As part of the investment, it also took a seat on the board of the institution.

Invest In Visions was established in 2006 by Edda Schröder. It says its aim is to offer institutional and retail investors access to impact investments. According to its website, the average ticket size of an unsecured debt investment made through its fund is €3.1 million with a tenor of around 19 months.

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