FMO, the Netherlands’ development finance company, is looking to provide $30 million (Rs 221.7 crore at today’s exchange rate) in loan to Bengaluru-based non-banking finance company Vistaar Financial Services Pvt. Ltd.
In a disclosure, FMO said the proposed funding will support the further expansion of Vistaar’s loan portfolio, for on-lending to microbusinesses and the smaller SMEs.
Vistaar, established in 2010 by Brahmanand Hedge and Ramakrishna Nishtala, caters primarily to small businesses in the rural and semi-urban areas in India.
Vistaar has received funding from MASSIF, which is FMO’s financial inclusion fund managed on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, since 2013.
FMO has supported the company through a capacity development program for strengthening its IT platform, consumer literacy, and employee education.
Vistaar’s loan portfolio is directed towards small-sized companies categorized as the “missing middle” (which because of their small size and sometimes insufficient loan documentation are too large to be served by microfinance institutions and too small to be served by the banks)
A large part of Vistaar’s loan portfolio is directed to rural and semi-urban areas which are not effectively served by most financial institutions in India.
This layer of the MSME sector requires specific credit analysis, for which Vistaar has a competitive advantage.
FMO supports credit extension to this segment in India among others by providing finance to companies such as Vistaar, which serve this target segment efficiently and at acceptable credit risk levels.
Last month, FMO extended debt funding worth Rs 35.6 crore to Innoviti Payment Solutions Pvt Ltd.
The Dutch development bank finances projects through equity and debt instruments in sectors such as agri-business, food and water, energy and financial institutions in underserved regions.
Along with Washington-headquartered International Finance Corporation, it is one of the most active global investment institutions in India.
Vistaar got its first external funding of $3.3 million (Rs 15 crore then), in May 2010 from Elevar Equity Advisors and SVB India Capital Partners.
Two years later, in August 2012, it raised $7.2 million in Series B funding from Lok Capital—now known as Sarva Capital—and Omidyar Network, besides Elevar and SVB India.
In May 2014, Vistaar raised $27.4 million from a clutch of investors led by private equity firm WestBridge Capital along with Elevar Equity, Omidyar Network and Saama Capital, the successor to SVB India fund.
In August 2015, WestBridge raised its stake in the company by putting in $42 million. It again increased its stake in the NBFC during 2016-17, to 52.71% from 41.12% by purchasing shares from Vistaar’s founders, Sarva Capital, and others, according to the company’s annual report.
In the past, Vistaar has raised debt from Franklin Templeton Asset Management, Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management, and UTI Asset Management Company, according to VCCEdge, the Mosaic Digital.