Mexico Micro Finance Lender Independencia Plans IPO This Year

Oct 2007
Mexico City, Mexico, October, 17 2007 - Mexican microfinance lender Financiera Independencia SAB, in which HSBC Holdings Plc (HBC) owns a minority stake, plans to list its shares on the local stock exchange later this year.

In a prospectus filed with the Mexican Stock Exchange, Independencia said it plans to list up to 20% of the company, or 136 million shares including an overallotment of 17.7 million shares, through primary and secondary offerings in Mexico and international markets.

Controlling shareholder Jose Luis Rion , president of the board, will see his stake reduced to 54.9% from 68.8% if the overallotment option is exercised, while HSBC's stake will fall to 18.68% from 19.99% Wednesday.

GBM Grupo Bursatil Mexicano brokerage will act as the lead placement agent in Mexico , while Credit Suisse will handle the international issue.

Company officials declined to comment on the deal, citing stock market regulations.Although the date and initial share price weren't disclosed in the prospectus, Independencia provided an estimated price range of MXN22 to MXN30 a share, which would value the company at 14.96 billion pesos ( $1.38 billion) to MXN20.40 billion.

Independencia will be Mexico's second IPO of the year and the second microfinance lender to list its shares following the initial public offering of micro finance bank Banco Compartamos SA (COMPART.MX) in April.

Micro finance has proven to be a very profitable business, thanks to the high margins lenders enjoy on their loans.

Compartamos had net profit of MXN426 million and a return on equity of 53.9% million in the first half of this year with a performing loan book of just MXN3.3 billion.

Independencia, which had net loans of MXN2.52 billion at the end of June, reported first-half net profit of MXN267.7 million and a return on equity of 53.2%.

Compartamos shares, which are up 43.7% since its IPO, were trading down 0.2% at MXN57.47 Wednesday, giving the company a market capitalization of about MXN24.59 billion.

Founded in 1993, Independencia operates as a multiple-purpose finance company serving 695,000 clients through 124 offices in 86 cities.

Last year, HSBC acquired a stake in the company for an undisclosed amount. Unlike a bank, finance companies by law are prohibited from taking deposits from the public and usually fund their operations through debt and bank loans.Independencia said it plans to use the proceeds of the primary share issuance to fund lending, expand its branch network and for other corporate purposes.

Independencia shares will trade under the ticker sybol FINDEP on the Mexican Stock Exchange.

Source : CCN Money

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