The regional expansion of the LOLC group has delivered extremely strong results diversifying and balancing the exposure the company has to the local market, Deputy Chairman of LOLC Holdings PLC Ishara Nanayakkara said.
“As a result 85% of Profit before tax (PBT) is currently derived from investments in Cambodia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Indonesia and Philippines. This growth momentum is evident from the LOLC Group’s maiden overseas investment in PRASAC, which has grown to become the largest microfinance institution in the dollarised Cambodian economy,” Nanayakkara told shareholders in the annual report 2018/19.
Although a relatively new entrant to the Cambodian MFI performers, LOLC Cambodia (LOCAM) has now positioned itself as the most profitable MFI in Cambodia with an ROE of 27.90%, ROA of 4.10%, the 4th largest portfolio and deposit base, of USD 564 million and USD 286 million respectively.
In less than five years since LOLC’s investment, LOCAM has risen up the ladder in the Cambodia microfinance landscape to be the third most profitable MFI in the country.
“Spreading our footprint further afield to Myanmar, LOLC Myanmar Microfinance Company Limited, a Greenfield operation, has grown to be counted as the third-largest among 176 microfinance institutions in the country, with an asset base of USD 52.4 million, portfolio of USD 39.5 million and PBT of USD 2 million within five years of commencing operations in Myanmar,” Nanayakkara said.
“The Company has now gained attention from prominent global investors due to its unique business model reflected through the quality portfolio and the growth potential in store with the liberalisation of the Myanmar market,” Nanayakkara added.
LOLC Group also recorded steady progress in the Non-Financial Sector through diversified investments in growth sectors in Sri Lanka and in Sierra Leone and Maldives.
“Sunbird Bio-energy Sierra Leone Limited, is the highlight of the year in review, comprising 23,500 hectares of an integrated farm that generates power, sugar and bio ethanol, and is one of the largest agricultural projects in the African continent. Non-Financial Sector investments in Sri Lanka, however, delivered moderate results given the prevailing macroeconomic conditions,”Nanayakkara noted.
Speaking further Nanayakkara expressed confidence that LOLC Group will become a global player with a multicurrency, multi-geographic microfinance and SME platform in the future.
“The Group’s strong background in creating customized, inclusive financial solutions for SME and Micro markets ensures the creation of an innovative and effective product mix, which LOLC is able to transfer into its new investment sectors as well as overseas ventures,” Nanayakkara said.
Given its origins as the pioneers in the leasing business in Sri Lanka, the Group consistently challenged itself to continue this momentum, becoming the first to introduce micro insurance in Sri Lanka along with tailored services catering to the bottom-of-the-pyramid like Cambodia and Myanmar, where the Group has recently acquired a license as an insurance operator.
By empowering grassroots level entrepreneurs and widening their access to sustainable financial services, LOLC Group has long functioned as a catalyst to transforming communities thereby advancing economic growth for all.
“We are hopeful that the year 2020 will bring forth increased stability in policy direction and favourable conditions in the macroeconomic arena which will further catalyse our growth trajectory,” Nanayakkara said.