Azerbaijan’s leading microfinance bank, AccessBank, received 10 million dollars through MSME Bonds, Symbiotics’ impact bond issuance platform, on November 20, 2012. The platform offers standardized electronically-traded syndications for fixed income investors. The transaction was offered by Symbiotics to an array of traditional and fixed income institutional investors in Europe, including a pension fund, a private bank and an impact investing fund.
AccessBank is the leading provider of financial services to micro-, small and medium- sized enterprises in Azerbaijan and has the highest credit rating among banks in the country. The bond offers 3-year financing to sustain the growth of its micro and small enterprise credit portfolio.
“This is an important new transaction with our long-term partner, Symbiotics, which will support the strong current growth of the Bank’s lending activities to micro and SME businesses especially in the regions of the country where the Bank is continuously expanding its outreach,” Michael Hoffman, CEO of AccessBank, comments.
Symbiotics has structured financing for AccessBank since 2006, originating over USD 30 million coming from its institutional investor clientele. This type of issuance, through a formalized bond platform, will help the microfinance institution to take a step further in gaining visibility and creating diversification in the European capital markets.
“We are very proud to contribute to the further development of our long standing partner AccessBank Azerbaijan,” remarks Roland Dominicé, CEO of Symbiotics. “With MSME Bonds, we are able to access more traditional investors and offer them the opportunity to get direct exposure to first tier financial institutions in emerging economies, capturing the growth of their micro and small enterprise market.”
AccessBank was established to provide access to financial services for Azerbaijan’s micro- and small businesses and low and middle income households. AccessBank is recognized as the most reliable bank in Azerbaijan by Fitch International Ratings ('BB+ Outlook Stable’), and as “The Best Bank in Azerbaijan” by Global Finance (2011) and Euromoney (2012, 2011 and 2010) in their annual awards as well as “The Bank of the Year” by The Banker (2011). AccessBank is owned by several development agencies and one international microfinance network. As of October 2012, AccessBank accounts for USD 577 million in total assets and serves over 300,000 clients through 34 branches spread all across the country.
Symbiotics’ mission is to contribute to the democratization of access to capital and globally to economic development which is more inclusive, socially responsible and sustainable. The company links socially responsible investors to micro-, small and medium enterprises in low income economies by creating value through innovative investment services bridging those two audiences. Overall, Symbiotics has been working with twenty investment funds and a dozen institutional investors, providing USD 1.3 billion of capital to nearly half a million micro-, small and medium enterprises through 150 financial institutions in 45 emerging economies.
About MSME Bonds:
MSME Bonds is a pass-through notes issuance platform based in Luxembourg. Through a unique syndication vehicle, it aims to address the needs of first tier microfinance institutions which contribute to sustainable social and economic development in developing economies. MSME Bonds repacks loans to these microfinance institutions into plain vanilla bonds. Such bonds, issued under a standard programme, are cleared and settled through Euroclear/Clearstream, making investments easy and simple. The platform offers reporting and analytics, as well as transparent market-driven pricing. Secondary market transactions, so far a rare exception for the largely “buy and hold” microfinance investors, are also made simpler thanks to electronic clearing.
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