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IFC Invests in Cambodia’s Amret Co. to Expand Lending for Micro and Smaller Businesses

Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 13 March 2015 —IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has acquired 19.9 percent of the share capital of Amret Co., the third-largest microfinance institution in Cambodia by gross outstanding loans, to increase lending to micro and smaller businesses as well as low-to-middle-income borrowers. This will help raise incomes, expand businesses, and create jobs in Cambodia.
In addition to the equity investment, IFC has also provided a senior loan of up to $10 million to Amret, which was established in 1991 and has the second-highest number of borrowers among microfinance institutions in Cambodia. IFC will also help Amret improve its shareholding structure and corporate-governance and disclosure standards to support its transformation into a commercial bank.
“With IFC’s support, we strongly believe that our business will grow more rapidly and reach more small businesses and individuals seeking loans,” said Chea Phalarin, CEO of Amret. “With the necessary financing, they can grow their businesses and improve their livelihoods.”  
Over the past two decades, Cambodia’s microfinance sector has been developing rapidly with annual growth rates of more than 30 percent, benefiting more than 1.9 million borrowers. Yet, many microfinance institutions’ operations remain small in scale and do not have national reach.
“The microfinance sector in Cambodia is at an important phase of development: Several key microfinance institutions are planning to transform into either deposit-taking lenders or commercial banks offering a wider range of banking products,” said Adel Meer, IFC’s Financial Institutions Group Manager for East Asia and the Pacific. “IFC is supporting Amret’s transformation with our financing and advice. This will help the company extend financial services to more borrowers in poorer provinces and increase lending for agricultural activities that are critical to economic growth.”
IFC’s support to Amret follows its success in assisting the transition of ACLEDA Bank from a microfinance institution funded by nongovernmental organizations into Cambodia’s largest bank by assets today.  
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in about 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. In FY14, we provided more than $22 billion in financing to improve lives in developing countries and tackle the most urgent challenges of development. For more information, visit
About Amret
Amret is a leading microfinance institution in Cambodia serving micro, small and medium enterprises and low-to-middle‐income populations with a focus on rural areas, agriculture and district and provincial cities. Amret offers a wide range of loan and deposit services including solidarity credits, individual credits, SME loans, savings accounts and term deposits. Amret currently has over 2,900 staff and serves over 367,000 clients from 128 branches across Cambodia, with more than $156 million in outstanding deposits and more than $309 million in outstanding loans. For more information, please visit
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