Centrum Microcredit Ltd, the micro-finance arm of diversified Centrum Group, has raised $5.55 million (about ₹41 crore) debt from Singapore-based impact investing and sustainability organisation Impact Investment Exchange (IIX). The micro-finance firm, which has presence across nine States, will use the funding to provide financial assistance to women entrepreneurs.
“It is our vision to create a positive, social and economic impact in the lives of low-income household by improving access to finance to women entrepreneurs. This is our first international fund raise and the funds will be used to improve the livelihood of women in India,” Prashant Thakker, Centrum Microcredit Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, told BusinessLine.
The firm has more than ₹465 crore of assets under management, and 2.2 lakh clients as on March 31, 2020.
Earlier this month, IIX raised $27.7 million through Women’s Livelihood Bond 3 (WLB3) from global institutional investors, family offices and pension funds among others. WLB3, which complies with the International Capital Markets Association social bond principles, will support 1.80-lakh under-served women and women entrepreneurs in the Asia-Pacific region to respond, recover and to build resilience in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The bond is supported by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), with financial backing from the Canada government.
The bonds were issued through IIX’s special purpose vehicle, which, in turn, will subscribe to Centrum Microcredit’s non-convertible debentures with four-year tenure.
Centrum began operations with the acquisition of FirstRand Bank India’s micro-finance portfolio for about ₹110 crore in 2017. Later in 2019, it acquired the business operations of New Delhi-based Altura Financial Services, which had a loan portfolio of ₹90 crore.
($1 = ₹73.85)