Omani, UAE banks fund Sri Lankan financial services group

Banks in Oman and the United Arab Emirates have decided to fund a Sri Lankan financial services group.
A syndicate of Middle Eastern banks recently invested $69 million in LOLC Finance PLC, a major financial services provider in Sri Lanka.

The money will be disbursed in two waves. The first is funded by Asian Development Bank and will operate on a seven-year term. The second round will operate on a three-year term and is funded by Bank Muscat, FGB, Emirates NBD, National Bank of Oman and Rakbank.

"I would like to extend our gratitude to all parties involved in the transaction," LOLC Deputy Chairman Ishara Nanayakkara said. "We have worked closely with ADB in uplifting the entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka, and this transaction is even more special as it is the first time a consortium of Middle Eastern banks join us in our developmental role."

LOLC is the second largest non-bank financial institution in Sri Lanka. They offer leasing, loans, micro-finance, margin trading, mobilization of public deposits and Islamic financing through 140 branches.

LOLC officials were advised on the deal by Alpen Capital (ME) Limited, an investment banking advisory firm operating through the Middle East. Alpen Capital officials said the investment is part of a broader trend of investing in emerging economies.

"We are proud to be associated with this transaction and are happy to support LOLC Finance PLC in their business growth," Alpen Capital Managing Director Mahboob Murshed said. "This transaction is unique since it marks Alpen Capital 's first Syndication with the Asian Development Bank and also the closure of our first ever transaction for a Sri Lankan financial institution. We are currently witnessing an increased appetite from regional banks to lend to financial institutions and corporates in emerging markets as a part of their diversification strategy. We are confident that the experience gained from this transaction will help us make further in-roads on such cross border transactions."

LOLC holds an A rating from ICRA, a credit rating company owned by Moody's. 

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