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Microfinance firm ASA International to launch London IPO

Global microfinance firm ASA International will launch an IPO on the London Stock Exchange, in a move that would give it a free float of at least 25%.

The firm said it would receive no proceeds from the offering, which will be a 100% secondary sell-down by selling shareholder Catalyst Microfinance Investors. It added that option shares representing as much as 15% of the total shares in the offering may be sold by Catalyst Microfinance to cover any overallotments and stabilization in the aftermarket. Admission of the shares in the offering is expected in July.

The IPO consists only of an institutional offer. ASA International directors agreed to a 365-day lockup period, while the company and the selling shareholder have agreed to a 180-day lockup period.

ASA International lends predominantly to low-income female micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses and is active in 12 countries in Asia and Africa. It has 1,387 branches and 9,000 staff as of 2017-end and reported a profit for the full-year 2017 of $29.3 million, up on a yearly basis from $15.3 million. The company said it targets an initial dividend payout ratio of 30% of its prior-year net income.

Alongside the offering, ASA International also appointed Johanna Kemna a nonexecutive director. She also holds the same post in BinckBank NV.

Citigroup Global Markets Ltd. is acting as sole sponsor, sole global coordinator and joint book runner on the IPO, while EFG Hermes UAE Ltd. and Investec Bank PLC serve as joint book runners. Keefe Bruyette & Woods, through Stifel Nicolaus Europe Ltd., is acting as lead manager.