MFIs to raise funds; eye equity, long-term debt & IPO routes

Written by Kavitha Venkatraman | Hyderabad | Updated: Apr 3 2010, 05:23am hrs
A number of micro-finance institutions (MFIs) are in the process of raising funds for expansion plans. While the smaller ones are looking at raising both equity and long-term debts, larger players are planning to hit the capital market.

Equitas Micro Finance, a Chennai-based outfit, on Thursday received $24 million from CLSA Capital Partners in exchange of a minority stake. The company, established in 2007, provides microcredit to low-income households in India. It has a loan portfolio of about $130 million and serves more than 900,000 customers, mostly in south India. Equitas intends to use the capital for expansion in other parts of the country.

Asmitha Microfin, a Hyderabad microfinance institution that provides loans for poor rural women, and Share Microfin, one of the earliest MFIs to receive an NBFC certification, are two other companies looking to raise funds.

Asmitha is looking to raise over Rs 1,500 crore in debt and also around Rs 75 crore of fresh equity to support its expansion plans. The company is looking to expanding its network by adding 100 branches next year. It currently has 590 branches.

Says Vidya Sravanthi, chairperson and managing director of Asmitha, Banks have shown interest in extending loans to the company but we have not approached them so far. As far as equity is concerned, though the existing investors are willing to infuse funds, we want to take equity contribution from new investors who understand our line of business.

Asmitha is targeting a cumulative disbursement level of about Rs 3,500 crore during the year ending March 2011 as against Rs 2,300 crore in FY10. Share Microfin, meanwhile, has obtained sanctions from State Bank of India for a term loan of Rs 200 crore. The term loan, according to Udaia Kumar, managing director of Share, would help it promote the agro, animal husbandry, micro, small and medium enterprises and cottage industries.