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Lanka Orix Leasing takes stake in Pak Oman Microfinance Bank

Lanka Orix Leasing Company (LOLC), Sri Lanka’s second largest non-banking financial institution by asset size, acquired a 50.1 per cent equity stake in Pak Oman Microfinance Bank Limited (POMB) by way of a primary issuance of shares by POMB.

POMB is a Pakistan-based micro finance bank promoted by the Government of Oman (67 per cent shareholding) and Pak Oman Investment Company, a joint venture between the Governments of Pakistan and Sultanate of Oman (33 per cent shareholding), according to a press release.

Alpen Capital (ME) Limited, Dubai acted as the financial advisor to Lanka Orix Leasing Company.

The signing ceremony of the shareholder agreement took place recently at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel in Colombo and was attended by Yahya Al Jabri, chairman of Pak Oman Investment Company and Pak Oman Microfinance Bank, Bahauddin Khan, CEO and managing director of Pak-Oman Investment Company Limited, Ishara Nanayakkara, deputy chairman, LOLC Group, Sri Lanka, Rohit Walia, executive chairman, Alpen Capital along with other members from the teams of Lanka Orix, Pak Oman and Alpen Capital.

“I am pleased to welcome Lanka Orix Group as our strategic partner for Pak Oman Microfinance Bank. We appreciate their success in SME and microfinance business in several countries and believe they can add significant value to our business. The investment demonstrates their confidence in the business model and sponsor groups and we look forward to a long term relationship with them,” said Yahya Al Jabri.

“We are extremely proud to support Lanka Orix Leasing Company in their growth strategy. We are seeing numerous prospects that exist within the subcontinent for strategic players and given our extensive experience in executing cross-border transactions, we are well positioned to connect our clients with the right opportunities,” said Rohit Walia.

“I am delighted that LOLC Group has been selected as the preferred partner to take Pak Oman Microfinance Bank forward, a strong indication of the expanding developmental role we have played in microfinance not only in Sri Lanka, but in our neighbouring South East Asian countries as well. Owing to our unique business model and extensive experience in providing innovative microfinance services, LOLC has been able to form strong relationships with a large array of prominent international partners who have helped us impact communities beyond financing. Driven by this collaborative spirit, we are keen to join forces with Pak Oman and steer the company towards our common goal of elevating the lives of micro entrepreneurs,” said Ishara Nanayakkara.

Licensed by the State Bank of Pakistan, Pak Oman Microfinance Bank Limited offers a range of micro credit and micro savings products and services to the under privileged segments of society in Pakistan.

POMB will stand to benefit from the vast experience and expertise LOLC has in the micro finance business, evidenced by successful ventures in Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Myanmar, and expects to significantly scale up its operations under the guidance of the new strategic shareholder.

Lanka Orix Leasing commenced operations as a leasing company in 1982 and has since expanded its offerings to include microfinance, factoring, savings and deposits, tailored financial products for the SME sector, Islamic financing and foreign currency deposits. The group has also expanded into fleet management, information technology and vehicle-related services. LOLC is one of the largest and most diversified conglomerates in Sri Lanka with a portfolio which is broadly categorised as Financial Services and Non-Financial Services, encompassing Leisure, Plantations, Agri Inputs, Renewable Energy, Construction, Manufacturing and Trading and other strategic investments.

LOLC’s strategic investment in POMB marks the group’s entry into an under-banked Pakistan, a large market offering a substantial opportunity for growth.

Times of Oman