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IFC invests $8 mln in private equity fund to support SMEs in Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan | business | 15:43, 19 September 2018 | 588

AKIPRESS.COM - IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, with support from the International Development Association (IDA) Private Sector Window, is investing a $8 million in a debut private equity fund by Highland Capital, an investment management firm, to help expand access to finance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Kyrgyz Republic.

The financing package includes $4 million from IFC’s own account blended with $4 million from the IDA Private Sector Window.

The new Highland Private Equity and Mezzanine Fund, which currently has $15 million in capital commitments, is the first institutional private equity fund in the country. The fund will provide critical growth capital of $800,000 to $5 million to local SMEs in services, agricultural processing, health, education, telecommunications, media, and technology. This is critical because smaller business across the country often struggle to access the capital they need to expand.

Cholpon Jumashukurov, Highland Capital’s Senior Managing Partner, said: “We are thrilled to have built a diversified base of high‐caliber investors, including IFC and other private investors. We are thankful to IFC, our anchor investor, and to Emil Umetaliev, a reputable local businessman, who trusted our team and approach by investing in our fund. Our investment approach fits the local market very well as it addresses the huge deficit of risk capital. We see a large number of compelling investment opportunities and we favor investments where our team can add significant value beyond capital provision.”

IFC’s financing will help the fund to provide risk capital to up to 15 SMEs in the form of equity and quasi-equity financing, while helping them develop strong management systems and corporate governance practices.

“IFC’s investment is part of our broader efforts to foster investments in SMEs, while spurring the creation of a local private equity market,” said Cassandra Colbert, IFC Regional Manager for Central Asia. “By supporting the country’s first local private equity fund, we hope to send a strong signal to other investors thinking of entering the Kyrgyz private equity market.”

Highland Capital is seeking $30 million in total for the fund and expects to achieve final close by August 2019. In addition to IFC, Gregory Serrurier, the fund’s first international investor, and Emil Umetaliev, a reputable local businessman, are among the fund’s investors.

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