Bamboo to launch $200m fund

The emerging markets firm intends to tap US and Asian LPs for the first time for its second private equity vehicle focused on microfinance investments.

Bamboo Finance, a Geneva-based private equity firm, is formally talking to investors about its second microfinance-focused fund that will invest in companies providing essential services to low-income consumers, sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Private Equity International. The vehicle expects a first close in the first quarter of next year.

The fund is targeting $200 million and will invest in microfinance businesses in emerging markets globally, focusing on Latin America, Africa and Asia. The firm plans to invest 25 percent of the capital in each of these regions, with the balance invested in other emerging markets. 

In Asia, Bamboo has highlighted the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar and China as its key target geographies, the source said, noting that despite a tough regulatory environment, China has experienced an “explosion” of microfinance companies recently. 

Bamboo hired IR exec in Singapore to tap 
Asia's growing LP base

The new fund has increased its focus on Asia and Africa. Bamboo’s $195 million previous vehicle invested 55 percent of its capital in Latin America.

Fund I is now completely invested, having returned 25 percent of its capital to investors, according to PEI's source. 

The first fund was almost entirely made up of six European institutional investors, with no development finance money at all, the source added. 

However, for the successor vehicle, Bamboo is diversifying its LP base, targeting Asian and US investors for the first time. Bamboo hired ex-Deutsche Bank executive Wee Mei Ling as head of investor relations a year ago to bolster its sales capabilities in Asia Pacific. She is based in Singapore. 

Bamboo Finance is an emerging markets private equity firm with $250 million in assets under management, including its $53 million side vehicle focusing on non-microfinance companies, according to the firm. Currently Bamboo has 17 investment professionals globally, mostly with past experience in the microfinance sector.