Tbilisi/Antwerp/Frankfurt: Crystal confirmed $8 million senior loan facility from Incofin IM advised IIV Mikrofinanzfonds to support its provision of innovative financial services to micro entrepreneurs and farmers across Georgia.
This new loan injection provided crucial reinforcement of Crystal’s liquidity position at a time of increasing market uncertainty in the immediate pre-crisis period. The proceeds of this fund have already been directed since Q1 2020 toward Crystal’s continued delivery of critical financial products to vulnerable farmers and micro-entrepreneurs during the COVID-19 crisis, including increased access to credit products, liquidity to finance working capital, and targeted business consultancy.
Crystal and INCOFIN have enjoyed a successful partnership since 2010 through a number of managed and advised funds. In 2016 agRIF (fund managed by Incofin) became an important shareholder of Crystal. Invest in Visions is partnering with Crystal on the debt side since 2015. This new facility is a clear sign of mutual intent to continue delivering on shared development goals of improved financial inclusion and entrepreneurial development across Georgia.
Geert Peetermans, Senior Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Incofin IM:
“Incofin’s partnership with Crystal spans a full decade during which the global and the local economy have seen ups and downs. It is part of the work of an impact investor to provide continued availability of support needed during both good and bad times. With Crystal we are strongly aligned to pursue social outcomes, and have notably joined forces using technical assistance to measure such outcomes. For this latest additional funding we are humbled to involve Invest in Visions, the largest German retail microfinance fund, with whom Incofin develops impact investments across the EECA region.”
Dr. Carlos de las Salas, Chief Investment Officer of Invest in Visions GmbH:
“With this $8 million loan we reinforce our seminal partnership with Crystal that goes back to 2015. Crystal’s support of micro-entrepreneurs, its strategy of deep social outreach combined with a strong commitment to promote agricultural development and the entrepreneurship of women aligns perfectly with our own vision of impact investing and financial inclusion. We are particularly pleased that the loan helps fostering Crystal’s liquidity in a time when it is most needed in order to continue its valuable work.”
Ilia Revia, Chief Executive Officer of Crystal:
“The decision to strengthen Crystal’s liquidity position in the turbulent pre-crisis period was an important contribution to our continued delivery of financial services during the COVID-19 pandemic. The families of our clients make up 10.8% of Georgia’s population and this new investment has ensured that we can continue to reach them with innovative loan products and technical support. This transaction emphasises continued international belief in the microfinance sector and in Georgia”.
Incofin Investment Management (www.incofin.com) is a global independent impact investment firm, focused on rural and agricultural finance, driven by a desire to promote inclusive progress. As such, Incofin IM strives to provide the support entrepreneurs need in order to build sustainable businesses and to improve the lives of the more vulnerable or less privileged people. It is an AIFM licensed fund manager and has over USD 1 billion in assets under management. Incofin has a team of more than 60 professionals spread over their headquarters in Belgium and local investment teams in India, Colombia, Kenya and Cambodia.
As a leading impact investment firm, Incofin has invested (via equity and debt financing) over USD 2.1 billion in 257 microfinance/financial institutions across 53 countries in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and Eastern Europe.
The IIV Mikrofinanzfonds was launched in 2011 by Invest in Visions GmbH (www.investinvisions.com), a leading German Impact Investor and pioneer in the financial inclusion space. It was the first fund of this asset class in Germany for retail and institutional investors. Its volume has recently grown up to more than USD 800 million. The IIV Mikrofinanzfonds currently refinances microfinance institutions in more than 30 countries around the globe with the vision of supporting sustainable economic development and improving the living standards of the less affluent by extending financial services to micro-entrepreneurs unserved by the traditional financial institutions.
JSC MFO Crystal (‘Crystal’) is Georgia’s leading financial inclusion organization and its largest by assets non-banking financial institution. It manages a loan portfolio of GEL 311 million, employing more than 1,000 members of staff, operating through 48 branches and serving more than 100,000 unique customers across Georgia. Crystal acts as a development platform for its customers, providing micro and small entrepreneurs and farmers with innovative financial products and services. Crystal is the first Fitch-rated non-banking financial institution in the region. In December 2018, Crystal received Georgia’s national responsible business award, “Meliora“.