Sun | Aug 20, 2017

Another IPO for junior market

Published:Wednesday | March 16, 2016 | 3:00 AMNeville Graham

Microfinancing firm ISP Finance Services is seeking $98 million from stock market investors through an initial

public offering (IPO).

ISP is floating 48.98 million ordinary shares at $2 per share on the junior market, representing 46.65 per cent of the company's authorised capital. Some 45.9 million shares are reserved for directors and employees of the company, which leaves just over three million or 6.29 per cent of the shares available for public subscription.

Shares not taken up by directors/employees will be reassigned to the general pool.

ISP is a micro and small loans provider incorporated in January 2007. Its loan portfolio, which began at $2.5 million at start-up, is now valued at $303.9 million, reflecting an average annual growth rate of 8.3 per cent, the company said.

ISP wants to retire most of its outstanding debt of $218

million. Its biggest creditor is co-founder and CEO Dennis Smith with a call of just over $92 million; followed by Scotiabank, which it owes $41 million, $30 million of which is an overdraft facility.

ISP Finance opened its doors in February 2007 with a staff of three, initially providing unsecured personal loans to persons in the security industry, before expanding to other employee groups. The security market continues to account for 45 per cent of all loans.

Through a suite of six loan products, ISP finances personal expenses, such as utility bills, school fees, home repairs and auto insurance; and family emergencies, including funeral expenses and medical costs. ISP also provides a variety of funding options for small entrepreneurs in the manufacturing, services and distribution sectors, including traders, hairdressers, bakers and caterers.

The company has grown to 40 employees serving 7,000 clients in its nine years of doing

business.

The subscription period for the ISP Finance IPO is

March 21-24. The offer, which prices ISP at $210 million, is being brokered by Victoria Mutual Wealth Management Limited.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com