K. T. Jagannathan

The company is

now focussed on seven districts in Tamil Nadu

CHENNAI: A Mauritius-based venture fund has picked up 24 per cent stake in the Chennai-based Asirvad Micro-finance Private Ltd., a company founded by a group of promoters led by S.V. Raja Vaidyanathan, an IIT and IIM alumni with close to three decades of business and managerial experience.

Lok Capital LLC of Mauritius has invested close to $1.75 million in the company for a 24 per cent stake at an undisclosed premium. Asirvad, according to Mr. Vaidyanathan, is focussed on lending to poor women, who are engaged in regular income-generating economic activities.

Since its inception in 2007, Asirvad has an outstanding portfolio of around Rs. 35 crore. It has now a client base of 75,000 women borrowers. Mr. Vaidyanathan said Asirvad was hoping to drive the loan portfolio up to Rs. 75 crore by 2010.

The company is now focussed on seven districts in Tamil Nadu. Soon, it would spread its wings to other parts of the State, he added. Asirvad has around 21 branches in the State with a staff strength of around 150 people. Following its investment into the company, a nominee of Lok Capital has been inducted into the board of Asirvad, which also has three nominees from the promoter-family and two independent directors. At the current equity base of around Rs. 7.40 crore, Asirvad, Mr. Vaidyanathan said, had enough leeway to drive up the business through borrowings.

Lok Capital is primarily focussed on investing in commercially-oriented micro-finance outfits in India. It has already invested in national micro-finance institutions such as Spandana, Basix and Ujjivan.

“Lok Capital’s experience will go a long way in guiding Asirvad to adopt best in class practices in all areas of management,” Mr. Vaidyanathan said.