NAFA raises $50 million via ECB, equity

Netafim Agricultural Financing Agency Pvt. Ltd. (NAFA), an agri-focused NBFC and a subsidiary of Netafim Singapore, has raised $40 million via external commercial borrowing (ECB) from the Phoenix Group and Cogito Capital, both Israel-based investors.

The funds will be utilised for business expansion, enhanced offerings, and to expand horizons in the agri-rural domain. The company would successfully improve its margins as it intends to service the high-cost old debt and bring down the overall cost of funds, it said in a statement.

The deal also marks fresh equity infusion into NAFA, which recently raised $ 9.4 million of Tier I Capital from Netafim Singapore and offered exit to the initial equity partners Atmaram Properties & Granite Hill Fund as they had reached their investment horizon. This is the maiden investment for both Phoenix Group and Cogito Capital in India and NAFA, through acquiring stake in Netafim Singapore.

Since acquiring NBFC licence from RBI in 2013, NAFA has established its presence in 8 States and disbursed total loans worth over ₹1,000 crore to over 10,000 customers. Among these, more than 60% of farmers are small farmers and marginal farmers. The company now aspires to expand this network and diversify to allied activities for customers’ long-term credit needs.

Lauri A. Hanover, CFO, Netafim said, “In the aftermath of COVID-19, India is gearing up for self-reliance with emphasis on the agri-rural economy and its rapid modernization. While the sector is still highly fragmented, the demand for credit in agriculture is largely unmet through formal financial institutions.”

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