Private Equity Investment Supports Financial Inclusion in India

July 11, 2011 / Elizabeth Buckley, Commercial Property Analyst

Investment and advisory firm Blackstone Group (NYSE: BX) has wound up a private equity investment of Rs 150 Crores (US$33 million) in FINO Limited for a significant minority stake.

Private Equity Investment Supports Financial Inclusion in India

FINO provides integrated technology solutions and physical network to enable financial inclusion in India. It is a channel with enabling technology platform for an end–to-end sourcing & servicing of micro customers in rural India on scale across a range of basic financial products and services.

FINO works with most of the leading banks in the country across a comprehensive product suite – savings bank accounts, recurring deposits, loan products, remittances, insurance products, government subsidies disbursement, among others, with more than 35 million customers.

Manish Khera, Chief Executive Officer, FINO Limited, said: “The Company has done well and the outlook is even stronger with Government focus of using Business Correspondent channel for cash subsidies and RBI’s drive to achieve total financial inclusion. We are quite excited to partner with Blackstone. FINO is a pioneer in the financial inclusion space and we plan to extensively leverage Blackstone’s global expertise of scaling up and transforming businesses.”

“With Blackstone joining our shareholder group and the Board, we look forward to more exciting time ahead and hope to contribute even better and bigger to the financial inclusion initiative. The funds that we have raised will primarily be utilized towards funding overall growth of the company and to meet long term capital requirements” added Mr. Rishi Gupta, Chief Financial Officer, FINO limited.

Akhil Gupta, Chairman and Managing Director of Blackstone Advisors India Private Limited, added: “India has a significantly high number of financially excluded households – more than 100 Million, with an exclusion rate of over 50%. The exclusion is much more prevalent in the rural areas.

“For sustainable and inclusive growth, India needs to extend basic utilities like financial services to the excluded population. As a dominant market leader, FINO is uniquely positioned to capitalize on this opportunity. While growing at almost 100% CAGR in the last few years, FINO has demonstrated conviction and commitment to changing India’s rural banking landscape.

“We are proud to partner with FINO and to participate in an initiative that is a high priority for our country.”
FINO is headquartered in Mumbai and employs over 2500 employees and 20000 business correspondent agents spread across 239 offices.

With over 35 million customer base across 300 districts across 24 states, FINO delivers financial products and services including banking, insurance & remittances in the first and last mile. FINO solutions are anchored around using biometric smart card, hand-held devices and Micro Deposit Machines to perform field operations and biometric authentication.

E&Y advised FINO for this fund raising.

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