International shareholders increase stake in Tajikistan micro lender IMON

By Anton Usov

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Tajikistan’s leading micro lending institution, Imon International (Imon), will continue providing financial services to more than 100,000 micro businesses and individual borrowers across the country thanks to an equity investment from Imon’s international shareholders.

Following the exit of Imon’s main shareholder Micro-credit Fund “IMON”, Mikro Kapital, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank FMO paid US$ 5.4 million to acquire a stake of 43.5 per cent. As a result of this transaction and in compliance with the National Bank of Tajikistan regulation, the EBRD and FMO will each own 17.9 per cent, while Mikro Kapital will become the largest shareholder with a stake of 42.7 per cent.

The international shareholders of Imon are committed to supporting the company’s activities, which are vital for grassroots businesses and farmers in rural mountainous areas of Tajikistan. The transaction also means Imon will be a sustainable and profitable institution compliant with the regulatory requirements as well as international standards of corporate governance and integrity.

George Orlov, Director, Financial Institutions Central Asia and Russia, said: “We are pleased to support our long-standing partner and an investee company. It will now meet the regulatory requirements and will continue developing and supporting micro and small businesses in the country.”

Vincenzo Trani, President of Mikro Kapital, stated: “Since 2008 we have been focused on the development of microfinance, and this shares purchase of Imon International fully fits into Mikro Kapital’s strategy. I am sure that with our international partners we will succeed in improving the growth and financial inclusion of small and medium-sized enterprises in Tajikistan and along the Silk Road.”

Jaap Reinking, Director Private Equity of FMO, commented: ‘‘With this increased investment in Imon we focus on the future development of the financial institution. The target group of grassroots businesses and farmers that Imon supports is fully in line with FMO’s development objectives. The collaboration with our international partners in this transaction is of great value to us.’’

To date, the EBRD has invested €731 million through 139 projects in Tajikistan’s economy.

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