Southeast Asia Business Roundup October 2016
Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank, better known as VPBank, secured a US$50 million syndicated loan in late July from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), to expand its support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), in particular companies led by women.
The loan is the first phase of a US$125 million financing package from IFC which is designed to help the Vietnamese bank to extend lending to local enterprises and to help boost international trade opportunities.
The loan comprises $25 million from IFC’s own account and another $25 million from Cathay United Bank. A quarter of the funding will be exclusively earmarked to female-owned SMEs.
This comes on top of the Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility project launched two years ago by IFC and Goldman Sachs to help close the credit gap for women-led businesses around the world.
“Access to capital is a major obstacle to growth for women entrepreneurs,” said Noa Meyer, managing director and global head of Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women initiative. “Goldman Sachs research shows that closing this gender credit gap could increase per capita income by around 25 percent in Vietnam by 2030. This new loan to VPBank will place more capital in the hands of women entrepreneurs in Vietnam who will drive future economic growth and job creation.”
Marking its second acquisition in the music industry space, the Singapore-based social music-making platform BandLab has acquired MONO Creators Inc., an American design studio of instrument cases, straps and accessories for gigging musicians.
BandLab said it will syndicate its social, digital tools for musicians and MONO’s creator-focused accessories to meet the needs of the fast-growing mobile musician market.
Founded in 2014 as a platform for musicians to create, collaborate and share music together, BandLab is part of BandLab Technologies, a connected ecosystem of brands covering musical instruments and accessories, and web/mobile/social applications and commerce.
The cloud-based platform acquired European-based iOS and web music-making service Composr earlier this year.
Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd is divesting part of its stake in national power utility Tenaga Nasional.
Khazanah is looking to sell 82 million shares of Tenaga, or about 1.5 percent of the total shares outstanding, which could raise up to US$294 million. Khazanah is the largest shareholder in Tenaga with a 29.7 percent stake.
It is suggested that the sale is part of Khazanah’s divestment strategy.
Earlier this year, Khazanah sold 1.58 percent in hospital operator IHH Healthcare Bhd, raising 829 million ringgit and in January it sold 112 million shares in Tenaga Nasional Bhd.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has provided a loan of US$13.5 million to United International Group’s (also known as Amata Hotel Group) hotel business, to be used for expanding the company’s existing operations, such as building a new 114-room hotel in Bagan, and a 110-room hotel and 20 villas in Nyaungshwe, for an estimated total cost of US$29 million.
The loan is expected to benefit the tourism sector by adding quality accommodation in key tourism areas.