Press release: The Shanghai Commercial and Savings Bank acquires an 80.01% stake in AMK Microfinance Institution Plc
The Shanghai Commercial and Savings Bank (“SCSB”) acquires an 80.01% stake in AMK Microfinance Institution Plc (“AMK” or “the Company”)
Shareholders in AMK, one of Cambodia's largest deposit-taking microfinance institutions, have confirmed the sale of 80.01% of the Company's shares to SCSB. Current shareholders, Rural Impulse Fund II, Proparco, and the Cambodian Laos Development Fund (CLDF) have exited their shareholdings completely, while current majority shareholder, Agora Microfinance has divested part of its shareholding. After the transaction's completion, AMK's shareholding structure now includes SCSB, Agora Microfinance and AMK Staff Association. Agora Microfinance, AMK's current majority shareholder, will remain as a minority shareholder of the Company to ensure continuity and an efficient handover of responsibilities over the following years.
Speaking about the transaction, Mr. John Chen, President of SCSB said: "AMK represents our first acquisition outside Greater China and we are excited about the future prospects for AMK and for Cambodia, in which we look forward to playing a constructive role. We are impressed with AMK's social mission and are committed to not only continue but further strengthen it as the institution's incoming principal shareholder. SCSB was established in Shanghai in 1915 and is now the premier choice for small- and medium-sized enterprises. It is recognized for its efficient trade financing and remittance services. With the aspiration to serve society, to support industry, and to promote international trade, SCSB's roots in serving the individual who would not traditionally have had access to banking services are firmly entrenched in the principles that guide SCSB today. SCSB sees a lot of similarity between when SCSB started as a Bank and where AMK is now.
SCSB believes in the vision & mission, values and strategy of AMK and it's this sharing of minds that will be used as a base for SCSB adding real value to the growth of AMK. We are very excited about this partnership and look forward to building a successful long term relationship with AMK on the foundation of its core values."
Tanmay Chetan, Chairman of AMK and CEO of Agora Microfinance, said: "AMK's shareholders, directors and management are delighted to welcome SCSB as our anchor shareholder. The current shareholders believe that AMK's future success will be considerably strengthened by SCSB's strong banking experience and expertise. In particular, SCSB's interest in furthering the development of Cambodian society, its commitment to AMK's mission, and its ability to providing long-term capital makes it the ideal shareholder for the next phase of AMK's development. We are very excited about this partnership, and what it will bring to AMK and to the wider Cambodian economy."
Dina Pons, East Asia Regional Director at Incofin Investment Management and AMK's former Director, said: "We invested in AMK in 2012, to support AMK's rural outreach strategy. At the end of 2017, AMK had increased significantly (close to double) the number of active loan accounts and deposit accounts with the number of outlets reaching 160 vs 113 in 2012. Village penetration had also increased to 89%, up from 72% over the same time period. In addition, AMK's product offering has also diversified significantly, to include local currency saving mobilisation through agents and the launch of a unique micro-insurance product covering health and accident." Now, as Incofin and the other AMK shareholders have guided AMK to a smooth-running organization, the time has arrived to bring on board a solid long-term investor, and transfer the reins to SCSB. Dina said: "As a responsible impact investor, we considered our mission complete and thus chose to exit to a financially solid investor with the aim to maintain the original social mission and client target. This is the reason why we conducted, along with all other shareholders, a thorough screening process which we called the "Fitness and Compatibility Review". In our screening of interested investors, SCSB clearly emerged as the one which understood grassroots rural entrepreneurship and its contribution to local economies the best, owing to its own history. SCSB also has a long view on Cambodia and its microfinance market, where its business decisions are made with the aim to ensure the sustainable and responsible development of AMK and of the microfinance market of Cambodia."
Kea Borann, CEO of AMK, said: "AMK's expansion into non-credit business in the recent past, especially its rapidly expanding deposit base, requires an ever-increasing focus on risk and liquidity management. We therefore believe that the addition of a strong banking institution as our main shareholder is an excellent fit for the next step in AMK's development. Further, we are very reassured by SCSB's appreciation of our core mission, its support for the existing management team, and its intent to further deepen our work with Cambodia's low income market segment."
Contact Details Agora
Agora Microfinance N.V. (AMNV) (www.agoramicrofinance.com) is an operator-investor that builds microfinance institutions in frontier markets, with the aim of maximising the social returns in microfinance whilst providing a fair and attractive financial return to investors.
AMNV is one of two investment companies within the Agora Group, which also includes a London-based Advisor and a network of MFIs. Their MFIs provide much needed responsible financial services to difficult and / or excluded markets, with a direct focus on lower income families.
Agora’s specialised and diverse team bring together decades of experience in microfinance, banking and research which have allowed them to build globally leading institutions and differentiating themselves as an investor that has hands on operational experience in the management and governance of MFIs.
Incofin Investment Management (www.incofin.com) manages impact investment funds and is a global leader in rural and agricultural finance, driven by a desire to promote inclusive progress. It is an AIFM licensed fund manager, advising and managing 1 BN USD of assets. Incofin has a team of 45 professionals spread over the headquarters in Belgium and 4 regional offices in Colombia, India, Kenya and Cambodia.
Incofin manages the following funds:
- Rural Impulse Fund II (closed-end fund) that invests in microfinance institutions that offer financial services in disadvantaged rural areas through debt and equity investments. RIF II focuses on investments in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
- agRIF is a third generation (closed-end) fund, uses leveraged private equity structures to support investments in financial inclusion for the rural sector. agRIF takes this model one step further by specifically targeting the agricultural sector and smallholder farmers, as well as rural micro-entrepreneurs. In addition to the equity investments targeted by the fund, agRIF provides debt investments in agricultural SMEs and agricultural focused financial intermediaries.
- The Fairtrade Access Fund (evergreen fund) which contributes to the development of a fair and sustainable agriculture sector. It addresses the financial and technical assistance needs of smallholder farmers by bridging the gap in working capital and providing long term financing.
- Incofin CVSO (evergreen co-operative) specialises in debt and equity investments in sectors generally accepted to belong to the impact investments universe. CVSO focuses in particular on Financial Inclusion and can make (direct and indirect) investments in companies (including SME’s) that pursue relevant impact objectives at the base of the pyramid in the areas of Food & Agriculture, Energy, Housing, Healthcare or Education. It is a cooperative fund and open to retail investors.