STJ is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of a remarkable company’s introduction to the international capital markets. ASA International is a global microfinance company providing loans to 1.8 million low-income and financially underserved females in 12 countries in Asia and Africa. The IPO has raised over $180m by floating over 40% of ASA’s capital. Pricing was in the top half of the price range despite recent very challenging markets, particularly for emerging and frontier market companies and associated currencies.
Very seldom do we have the privilege to advise a company doing so much good for millions of people around the world. With the benefit of ASA’s loans, millions of female entrepreneurs have grown their businesses, improved local economies and advanced the fortunes of their local communities and countries. The countries where they operate have more than 365 million low-income women without access to traditional sources of finance to improve their lives and those of their families.
ASA’s loans have grown at 43% CAGR in the last 5 years. This growth has been achieved with a financial model with platinum standards of efficacy – with a loan default rate maintained at less than 0.5% while return on equity has been over 25%, despite operating in these volatile emerging and frontier markets.
STJ has advised the company and its management for almost 5 years. Only now has the company reached a critical mass which has allowed it to successfully IPO on the Premium List of the London Stock Exchange.
The challenge of preparing the company for the public markets, particularly given the diversity of global operations, has been a satisfying experience for the STJ team. We helped craft an optimal investment case and established a bank syndicate reflecting the multi-faceted nature of ASA’s appeal – to access investors in emerging and frontier markets, diversified financial services and for socially responsible investment (as well as expected core generalist support). This has resulted in high quality demand from investors equally spread across the globe - the UK and Europe, Asia and the US.
The company’s share price closed 7% above the IPO price on its debut. We are pleased to have had the chance to provide our specialist capital markets advice to a client that really deserves the support of the international capital markets.
This is the 7th equity sale advised by STJ this year, raising a total of €4.5 billion.