New Delhi: Annapurna Microfinance has announced the successful completion of its most recent equity fundraising round. The round was led by Bamboo Capital Partners (“BCP”) – the established global emerging markets private equity firm specializing in commercial growth investments into finance, healthcare and energy at the base of the economic pyramid. Bamboo Capital Partners injected fresh equity capital of INR 324 million into Annapurna. The funding round also saw existing investors – BIO and Oikocredit –inject additional capital of INR 286 million into the Company (BIO- INR 143 million and Oikocredit- INR 143 million ). The company will use the additional capital on further growth and expansion.
Annapurna has experienced significant growth in its loan portfolio and operations over the last 3 years whilst maintaining excellent portfolio quality. In October 2016 Incofin, Annapurna’s long-time investor, exited the majority of its stake with a strong return, through a secondary share sale to Women’s World Banking Capital Partners (“WWB CP”) for INR 505 Million. In previous capital rounds, Annapurna has received equity supports from SIDBI IMEF, SIDBI Venture Capital Ltd (SVCL), BIO, Incofin Investment Management, DCB Bank and Oikocredit as well.
Speaking on this development, Mr. Gobinda Chandra Pattanaik, MD & CEO of Annapurna said, “We are excited to work with our new investment partner in the form of Bamboo Capital Partners and equally thrilled to have the additional equity from BIO and Oikocredit, both of them have been our long-standing partners. The contribution of WWB CP to the financial inclusion sector and to highlight women as incubators of rural entrepreneurship development for the last 35 years is immense. By leveraging the financial experience and access to capital of our investors, the Annapurna Management Team will be able to take advantage of new opportunities in the microfinance sector and strategically move forward in serving more clients with no or limited access to finance from the mainstream sector.”
Mr. Imraan Mohammed, Fund Manager & Head of Asia, of Bamboo Capital Partners commented, “Aside from the significant growth and stellar financial performance that Annapurna has demonstrated over the last few years, what really stood out for us was the tight operational culture the Management team has built and embedded into the firm and a holistic strategy which embraces both diversification as well as a deepening within its core areas and customer segments to serve the base of the economic pyramid, particularly in the less penetrated provinces of eastern India where financial inclusion levels are still very low. We are excited about the investment and look forward to having a long-term partnership with Annapurna that benefits all stakeholders.”
Ms. Christina Juhasz, Chief Investment Officer of WWB Asset Management commented, “With its commitment to serving women in rural and underserved areas of Eastern India and its dedicated and innovative management team, Annapurna is an excellent partner for Women’s World Banking Capital Partners to further its objectives of reaching more women with more financial products and services that they need and deserve. We are greatly looking forward to a long-term partnership with Annapurna which will surely benefit all stakeholders.”
Aditya Bhandari, Regional Director Incofin said, “Right from our initial discussions, way back in 2012, we have seen relentless focus by the management team of Annapurna. The company is perfectly poised in cementing its leadership position within the Indian microfinance ecosystem. Annapurna’s ability to create a liquidity platform for its financial investors further improves its profile.”
According to Ratna Vishwanathan, CEO, Microfinance Institutions Network, “Annapurna Microfinance has done a commendable job in filling up the financial inclusion gap especially in the rural areas. Its growth is a reflection of the company’s well-thought through strategy for its expansion. Microfinance sector has been instrumental in encouraging rural entrepreneurship among women and furthering the financial inclusion agenda of the government. Despite the subdued growth in the recent quarters due to external factors, microfinance industry has the potential to bounce back to its earlier growth pace. The confidence of the investors on MFIs reaffirms our confidence.”
Annapurna Microfinance Pvt. Ltd. which is one of the fast growing NBFC-MFI in the country, currently operates in 10 different states with over 0.9 million borrowers and a Gross Loan Portfolio/ Total Assets of about INR 12,360 Million as on March 2017. While Annapurna’s core areas of operation have tended to be in the eastern states i.e. Odisha and Chhattisgarh, the Company has been expanding its footprint into neighboring states successfully and is now also exploring further expansion into the states of Punjab & Haryana, where operations are expected to commence in the near future. This well-timed capital support from Bamboo Capital Partners and existing investors will enable the company to not only strengthen its position in its existing core areas but to also expand and diversify its operations into previously untapped regions.