ASA International Lists on London Exchange
Trading began yesterday in shares of ASA International after a successful premium listing that sold 40% of the company to new institutional investors at a valuation of GBP313 million, USD415 million, on the main London exchange, a first for the microfinance industry. As of midday today, shares were trading at GBX390, up solidly from the IPO price of GBX313.
ASAI currently has microfinance subsidiaries in 12 countries in Asia and Africa with 1.9 million clients and an average loan size of USD170. At the market open ceremony last week ASAI Chairman Shafiqual Choudhury stated that “We look forward to continuing to roll out this model in Asia and Africa, as we seek to serve the market of 365 million low-income women where we currently operate, as well as expanding into other regions over time.”
ASAI was created in 2007 by the Catalyst Fund, a collaboration between Dirk Brouwer of Sequoia, a Netherlands based private equity firm, and ASA NGO of Bangladesh, founded and led by Shafiqual Choudhury. Catalyst emerged from a collaboration with Bob Pattillo’s Gray Ghost Microfinance Fund, managed by Paul DiLeo of Grassroots. Gray Ghost connected with Dirk and Elizabeth Brouwer in 2004 and launched a pilot fund in 2006. In 2008, Brouwer and Choudhury raised $125 million for the Catalyst Fund, at the time the largest private microfinance fund, with Gray Ghost as its anchor investor. DiLeo served as the non-executive member of the Catalyst ICOM from inception through 2011 and has been a Board member for most of Catalyst’s life.
The ASAI IPO led by Citibank marks another milestone in the success of microfinance in engaging mainstream investors, while maintaining a strong focus on underserved poorer and women clients.
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