26/2/2018 – Private equity firm Anthem Asia announced recently that it is raising US$40 to US$50 million for its Myanmar SME Venture Fund to support the national and regional expansion of local businesses.
Their investment will focus on small and medium enterprises, agribusiness, affordable housing, health, education, as well as climate change mitigation and adaptation. This will help job creation and economic growth by providing SMEs access to risk capital.
International Finance Corporation, the arm of World Bank is also considering an investment of up to US$15 million in the fund. The proposed funding will include US$7.5 million in equity and a co-investment of US$7.5 million by the IDA18 IFC-MIGA Private Sector Window.
World Bank’s IFC-MIGA Private Sector Window supports private sector investments in IDA-only countries, with a focus on fragile and conflict-affected states. The co-investment will be made by Blended Finance Facility, IFC’s segment that supports segments with high development impact.
Following the investment, IFC will sit on the board of the Anthem fund’s advisory committee and provide guidance on fund management and governance best practices, as well as environmental, operational, and social improvement for local businesses through knowledge transfer.
“Through co-investments, IFC can further provide funding to the Fund’s portfolio or pipeline companies when these companies require additional capital,” the World Bank arm said in its disclosure.
Founded by Josephine Price, Genevieve Heng, and Peter Witton, Anthem Asia is one of the few active PE investors in Myanmar. It primarily invests in SMEs and domestic brands in the sectors of consumer goods and services, business services, tourism and leisure, food and beverage, and agri-business.
Its investments can be in the form of equity or debt or a combination of the two. Anthem Asia’s portfolio includes at least nine SMEs. Its last publicly disclosed investment was in late 2016 in Rangoon Tea House, an award-winning restaurant known for its traditional recipes.
Other companies in Anthem Asia’s investment portfolio includes Thalun International School, fitness chain MOVE, digital marketing agency Revo Digital and premier service office space provider Hintha Business Centres.