Agora successfully exits its shareholding in AMK MFI Plc

Agora (AMNV) has successfully transferred its ownership in AMK MFI Plc to the Shanghai Commercial and Savings Bank (SCSB) through a two phased transaction which was completed at the end of August 2020.  Agora initially transferred its 31% ownership in 2018, and the balance 20% was handed over the SCSB during 2020.  The transaction has now received all required approvals and the transfer of shares has been fully concluded.

Tanmay Chetan, the Founder-CEO of Agora, continues on the Board of AMK in his individual/ independent capacity.

Agora has had a long 10-year+ association with AMK beginning 2009.  During its stewardship, AMK has achieved countless milestones, not the least of which is its substantial deposit business.  After receiving the license for deposit taking from the National Bank of Cambodia in 2010, AMK embarked upon a two-pronged strategy of creating an agency network that could handle deposits, as well as establishing a number of new offices to improve access to deposits for its mostly rural customers.  Agora contributed to this drive by placing its own digital banking expert in Cambodia for 18 months to lead the establishment of the agency banking initiative.  Over the years, this part of AMK’s business has been well established and today AMK has a network of not only 149 offices but also more than 5,000 agents where customers can deposit or withdraw their savings, repay loans, and other payment services.

In addition, during the past 10 years AMK has continued its growth and consolidation in the market by expanding its product offer to include payments, transfers, insurance and leasing, among others.  It has added a number of ATMs as well as mobile banking to reach more customers in an efficient manner.  As a result of all of the above, it retains its premier position in the market as the financial institution of choice, especially among rural customers.

Centre image L-R: Mr Tanmay Chetan, AMNV; H.E. Madam Chea Serey, Director General, National Bank of Cambodia; Mr Kea Borann, AMK; Mr John Yung, SCSB

Speaking on the transfer of ownership and the future of AMK, Mr John Yung, representing SCSB said the following –

“Since the completion of phase one of SCSB transaction to become the major shareholder, AMK management under the leadership of Kea Borann continue to impress as they handle the effects of climate change and the global COVID-19 pandemic. AMK continues its mission to serve the poorest of Cambodia to help them improve their economic livelihood and assist small businesses to grow during this tough period. We thank you Tanmay and Agora to make the transition a success and is thankful for Tanmay to continue to guide us as an independent director. We are also thankful to members of the Board’s Social Performance Committee who had stayed on to continue to guide AMK to fulfill its mission and for Tanmay to join this committee. SCSB looks forward and will continue to support AMK’s mission to serve the rural area and the underserved people of Cambodia and to help with the creation of a vibrant middle class.”

AMK’s CEO Mr Kea Borann also echoed these words and the following comments –

“AMK’s management and staff would like to profoundly thank to Agora who put tremendous effort to support and guide us to keep moving in the right direction, serving the most at-need populations even during very difficult times. And now, with the support of SCSB as the shareholders of AMK, we strongly believe that AMK will bring more inclusive financial products/services to its clientele especially in rural areas to allow them to better manage their family’s finances and financial plans.”

On behalf of Agora, Mr Tanmay Chetan, Founder-CEO of Agora thanked both SCSB and the AMK team, and said the following –

“We at Agora remain incredibly proud of the achievements of AMK, and the small role that we played in its evolution.  Our exit as shareholders of AMK underlines the tremendous achievements of AMK, wherein we have outlived our value.  Nothing could be better than this realisation at the time of exit.  Further, we are really pleased to be handing over the baton to SCSB and to John, who have already shown a deep commitment towards the development of AMK and of Cambodia, by providing substantial capital in their short time so far.  AMK’s future remains as bright as ever in the hands of SCSB.”

AMK is now looking to further improve the range and scope of its financial services, with a stronger than ever focus on agriculture as the engine of Cambodian rural economy.  It is currently expanding into new products as well as using technology to improve the efficiency of production and marketing of agriculture produce.  It believes that its own financial services can be best leveraged when small farmers have the appropriate tools and technology to improve their outputs while being responsible towards farming as a sustainable activity.