The International Finance Corporation (IFC) invested an additional Sh13.4 billion in Kenyan companies in the year ended June, cementing its role as one of the biggest investors in the local market.
The global financier says in its latest annual report that it had invested a cumulative Sh305 billion in the form of debt and equity in Kenyan firms during the review period.
This is up 4.5 percent from 291.7 billion the year before. IFC remains one of the largest foreign institutional investors in the country alongside European Investment Bank (EIB), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and and sovereign wealth funds Proparco (French) and KfW (German).
IFC has invested in about 125 local firms so far, including Equity Bank, Kenya Tea Development Agency Holdings and Britam Holdings.
Most of the investments are in form of long-term loans, with IFC acquiring significant stakes in a few firms. The expansion of IFC’s activities in the local market has seen companies benefit from relatively easier access to long-term finance to fund their growth.
Equity Bank is among the lenders that have received loans from IFC. The country’s second-largest bank earlier this year signed an agreement to take a $100 million (Sh10 billion) long-term loan from IFC.
The cash was to be used to shore up the capital of the lender besides increasing its capacity to lend to local small and medium-sized firms.
IFC did not disclose the cost of the debt but noted that it will be subordinate –rank below other loans with regard to claims on the bank’s assets.