Incofin Investment Management announces the First Close of the agRIF Fund for 71 M USD.

Incofin Investment Management announces the First Close of the agRIF Fund for 71 M USD.

2015/06/18

agRIF will invest in financial intermediaries in emerging economies (Africa, Asia, LAC Region, CEE-NIS), that enhance financial inclusion of smallholder farmers and rural micro-, small and medium sized entrepreneurs (MSMEs) in the agricultural value chain. It will provide an attractive financial return to investors. agRIF is a 10 year closed-ended mixed fund, that will make equity and debt investments. The average ticket size of the investments will be between 5-10 million USD.

agRIF capitalizes on the experience of its predecessor funds, Rural Impulse Fund I & II, the performance of which is in line or exceeding return and outcome targets. These funds reach out to 3.8 million clients, 68% of which are located in rural areas.

First Close Investors include the European Investment Bank (Luxembourg), Proparco (France), BIO (Belgium), SIFEM (Switzerland), Volksvermogen (Belgium), ACV-CSC Metea (Belgium), KBC Bank (Belgium), Bank für Kirche und Caritas (Germany), VDK Spaarbank (Belgium) and Incofin IM (Belgium). Most of these investors have invested in the predecessor funds and now return to invest in agRIF as they value the good returns and share Incofin IM’s commitment to increasing access to finance for the agriculture value chain.

agRIF is a Dutch investment vehicle. It will substantially expand its size in subsequent Closings until December 2016. Numerous expressions of interest have been received already.

“agRIF will invest in financial institutions in order to support and accelerate their growth and the expansion of their agricultural and/or rural portfolio. It will do so, thanks to the hands-on and dedicated involvement of Incofin IM’s experienced team of private equity and investment managers. In addition, agRIF will benefit from a technical assistance facility that will actively support the portfolio companies. The expected outcome of the Fund’s investments, is the building of stronger, more resilient and more profitable financial institutions and the access to adapted financial services for substantially larger numbers of actors in the agricultural value chain, especially MSMEs. Incofin IM will rigorously monitor and measure the outcome of agRIF’s investments. We are convinced that the new Fund, based on 15 years of experience in rural finance, will contribute value at all levels: investors, investees, clients and agricultural value chain operators. We have demonstrated in the past that we always translated our funds’ ambitions into reality. We are happy to observe that top notch investors acknowledge our leadership in this area”, says Loïc De Cannière, CEO of Incofin IM.

“It is essential that small holder farmers and entrepreneurs can access finance to exploit business opportunities, create jobs and buy equipment. The European Investment Bank works with local financial partners around the world who understand local financing needs and can address specific challenges hindering investment. We are pleased to support new engagement by agRIF given the strong track record of previous rural lending under the Rural Impulse Fund” says Pim van Ballekom, European Investment Bank Vice-President.

"We are very pleased to continue supporting Incofin in the development of rural and agriculture focused funds" said Claude Périou, CEO of Proparco. "agRIF will be the second fund of Incofin with this investment strategy that we finance after the successful experience of Rural Impulse Fund II. The fund is poised to generate or maintain more than 6,000 jobs either through direct investments in producer organizations and agriculture SMEs or through indirect investments in microfinance institutions. The approach of agRIF matches completely our own strategy, that emphasizes responsible microfinance, strengthening of rural value chains and a combination of debt, equity and technical assistance in favor of our investees."

“We are excited about continuing our partnership with Incofin IM as a leading microfinance fund manager with the launch of agRIF. BIO is proud to be part of this ground-breaking fund that will create opportunities for rural MSMEs to develop and grow, thereby generating income and jobs and that will innovate by focusing on financial institutions that specifically target smallholder farmers as final beneficiaries”, said Luuk Zonneveld, CEO of BIO.

“SIFEM welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with an experienced partner such as Incofin IM by investing in agRIF,” said Claude Barras, Obviam CEO.

“As the majority of the world’s poor live in rural areas and access to finance is recognized as one of the major challenges faces by rural entrepreneurs at the Base-of-the-Pyramid, agRIF presents a compelling impact opportunity to reach the rural poor with viable financial products.”

“We appreciate the good and trustful cooperation with Incofin IM and the possibility to be involved as from First Close. Within the framework of our sustainable investment policy, “microfinance” becomes an increasingly important asset class. Thanks to agRIF’s focus on agri-focused institutions, we are well positioned to successfully implement our investment strategy”, says Michael Hepers, Director Treasury and Portfolio Management.

Wim Eraly, Senior General Manager Corporate Banking KBC Bank, welcomes the agreement with Incofin: “Incofin’s agRIF Fund is fully in line with KBC’s view on corporate sustainability and responsibility. Financial institutions and intermediaries in rural communities will now gain access to sufficient financial resources to support the growth and expansion of small local agricultural companies in their business development. Initiatives in Belgium, like the half yearly BRS Microfinance Lunch Breaks, in cooperation with KBC and Cera, illustrate the bank’s active involvement in and solidarity with developing countries.”

 

About EIB The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. Press contact EIB: Richard Willis, r.willis@eib.org, Tel.: +352 4379 82155, +352 621 555 758 Website: www.eib.org/press – Press Office: +352 4379 21000 – press@eib.org

About Proparco PROPARCO is a Development Finance Institution jointly held by Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and public and private shareholders from the North and South. Its mission is to catalyze private investment in emerging and developing countries with the aim of supporting inclusive and sustainable development. PROPARCO is one of the main bilateral development finance institutions dedicated to private sector financing. It invests on four continents encompassing the major emerging countries and the poorest countries, particularly in Africa, and has a high level of requirements in terms of social and environmental responsibility.

About BIO The Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO) is a Development Finance Institution (DFI) established in 2001 in the framework of the Belgian Development Cooperation to support private sector growth in developing and emerging countries. BIO supports financial institutions, investment funds, enterprises and private infrastructure projects by providing tailored long-term financial products (equity, quasi-equity, debt and guarantees) either directly or through intermediary structures. BIO can also fund technical assistance programmes for client companies as well as feasibility studies. BIO requires its business partners to implement environmental, social and governance standards. BIO operates as an additional partner to the traditional financial institutions and supports projects with a balance between return on investment and development impact. Website: www.bio-invest.be

About SIFEM The Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets (SIFEM) is the development finance institution of the Swiss Confederation and a cornerstone of Swiss development cooperation. SIFEM‘s mission is to promote long-term, sustainable and broad-based growth in developing countries. SIFEM supports enterprises in its partner countries by making capital and loans available to them, as well as providing knowledge to professionalize business management. As a responsible investor SIFEM encourages fair working conditions, environmentally friendly production standards and integrity in business practices. SIFEM is advised by Obviam, a privately owned advisory group. For more information please visit www.sifem.ch.

About Volksvermogen Volksvermogen is an investment company with head offices in Gent, Belgium. The company is one of the reference shareholders of VDK Spaarbank. It also invests in the social impact sector, aiming at an optimal combination of financial and social return, and in innovative projects offering sustainable perspectives.

About ACV CSC Metea ACV-CSC METEA is an industry trade union, which resulted from the merger between “ACV Metaal” and “ACV Textiel”. The trade union bows on a history of more than 100 years of defending interests of workers in Belgium and - by nature of the industry –abroad. ACV CSC METEA prioritizes investments in ethical projects. It favors investment targets that enhance access to finance for small entrepreneurs.

About KBC Bank KBC (www.kbc.com) is one of the leading financial groups in Europe. It is a multi-channel bank-insurance group with a geographic focus on Europe, catering mainly to retail clients, SMEs and local midcaps. The group occupies significant, and in some cases leading positions in its core markets of Belgium and Central and Eastern Europe (Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria), and in Ireland. The KBC group has also selectively established a presence in a number of other countries and regions around the world. KBC is one of the largest companies in Belgium and is listed on NYSE Euronext Brussels (ticker symbol 'KBC').

About Bank für Kirche und Caritas The “Bank für Kirche und Caritas eG (BKC)” has been incorporated in 1972 as an initiative of church communities and charitable organizations from Paderborn (Germany) and their staff. The Bank combines the strengths of a cooperative bank with the expertise of a specialist bank focusing on catholic, charitable organizations. Since about ten years, the Bank has developed an offer of high quality, sustainable investment products for its clients. The Bank has total assets of 4,3 billion EUR. It employs 95 staff members (www.bkc-paderborn.de).

About VDK Spaarbank VDK (www.vdk.be) is an independent Belgian retail bank with headquarters in Ghent. The savings bank was founded in 1926, and has firm historical roots within the local Christian trade union movement. Since a few years, VDK is expanding its strictly local home area to include both of East and West Flanders, and recently Antwerp-city. 140,000 customers are welcomed in 90 branches where they have access to a wide range of banking services: savings and investment products, various loans and credit products and all kind of payment services. Although the bank has implemented performant online and mobile banking facilities, VDK values personal client contacts as a key factor in its commercial approach. VDK aspires to be a sustainable bank with a clear social commitment.

About Incofin IM Incofin Investment Management (www.incofin.com) manages impact investment funds and is a global leader in rural and agricultural finance. It is an AIFM licensed fund manager, advising and managing 600 M USD of assets. Its flagship funds include Rural Impulse Fund I (2007) and Rural Impulse Fund II (2010). It is headquartered in Belgium and has a network of 4 regional offices and representations. It has a team of 40 experienced staff with in-depth knowledge of rural finance and private equity.

More information on agRIF can be obtained with Loïc De Cannière at Incofin IM Loic.decanniere@incofin.com or T + 32 3 829 25 36.

 

The domicile of the Fund is the Netherlands. The Fund Manager is Incofin Investment Management Comm VA, with its registered office at Sneeuwbeslaan 20 bus 2, 2610 Antwerp, Belgium, Tel +32 3 829 25 36, Fax +32 3 740 78 28, www.incofin.com. The Representative of the Fund in Switzerland is OpenFunds Investment Services AG, with its registered office at Selnaustrasse 5, CH-8001 Zurich, Tel +41 44 500 31 08, Fax +41 44 500 31 06, www.open-funds.ch. The Paying Agent in Switzerland is Società Bancaria Ticinese SA, Piazza Collegiata 3, 6500 Bellinzona, Tel +41 91 821 51 21, www.bancaria.ch. The distribution of the Participation Rights in the Fund in Switzerland must be made exclusively to Qualified Investors. The place of performance and jurisdiction for the Participation Rights in the Fund distributed in Switzerland is at the registered office of the Representative. Publications to Swiss investors in respect of the Participation RIghts in the Fund are effected by the Representative.