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Microfinance lender could be valued at several hundred million in UK float

Microfinance business ASA international is aiming for a London initial public offering (IPO) next month that is expected to value it at several hundred million pounds.

The Bangladeshi-Dutch lender offers microfinance to low income female entrepreneurs and small business owners in Asia and Africa.

Read more: How microfinancing has changed African communities

It announced its intention to float this morning with the goal of giving it access to the capital markets and incentivising key management and employees.

It lends to 1.8m customers and has 1,387 branches and 9,000 staff across the globe.

ASA International replicates the model of ASA, which is a Dhaka-based non-governmental organisation first set up in 1978.

It plans to roll out its model, which it describes as “easily replicable and highly scalable”, into new countries in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Read more: Yew Grove raises €75m ahead of AIM listing

The company has issued $299m (£226m) of gross loans since 2013 with an average 25 per cent return on average equity over that period. Its profit last year was $29m.

Co-founder and chief executive of ASA International, Dirk Brouwer, said: “The IPO is an important landmark in the groups development and will provide access to the capital markets in the future, as well as further improve our profile and ability to recruit, retain and incentivise key management and employees.”

Fellow co-founder and non-executive chairman Shafiqual Haque Choudhury said: “The ASA microfinance model is widely acclaimed as one of the worlds most efficient models of microfinance, and one that has been overtly designed with a socially responsible lending methodology.”

Investment bank Citi is leading the IPO alongside Investec, EFG Hermes and KBW.

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