The ACLEDA Bank Lao, a wholly owned subsidiary of ACLEDA Bank Cambodia, started its operations in the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Laos) in July 2008. By December 2014, ACLEDA Bank Lao had assets worth USD 145 million and more than 18 000 borrowers.
The market for financial services in Laos is underdeveloped and institutions such as the Bank are crucial to providing micro, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) opportunities to grow and develop. MSMEs are an important target group for Norfund. The Bank and the range of financial services and products it provides to these enterprises were therefore of investment interest to us.
Norfund supported the Bank’s lending operation in 2014 by providing a local currency loan equivalent to USD 7.5 million. The transaction was one of the first long-term local currency loans provided to a financial institution in Laos.
This project is providing excellent additional value because it is helping the Bank to diversify its funding base and thus helping to increase the availability of local currency funding to local MSMEs.
Speaking about the investment, Deepak Malik, Head of Norfund’s Financial Institutions, said: “We are pleased that we are helping to channel more funding to local MSMEs in Laos. It is classified as a Least Developed Country and is therefore a priority for us. The local currency loan from Norfund will encourage more local currency funding to other local banks. Local SMEs will also be able to get more access to funding, without having to face foreign exchange risks.”
One of Acleda Bank Lao's customers