Sasfin gets R241m World Bank shot in the arm

THE International Finance Corporation announced yesterday that it would invest $30million (about R241million) in South African lender Sasfin Holdings to enable it to increase lending to small- and medium-sized businesses.

The IFC is the private sector arm of the World Bank and seeks to improve access to finance for South African entrepreneurs.

The investment consists of a $10million trade finance guarantee facility, a $10million equity investment in Sasfin Holdings, giving it a 12percent equity stake - and a $10million loan to Sasfin Bank Limited.

Roland Sassoon, Sasfin Bank chief executive, said the funding would provide a cash injection for entrepreneurs who have suffered due to a lack of financing since the start of the global economic recession.

Sassoon said: "Sasfin itself has its roots in entrepreneurship and so we have a unique vantage point from which to serve our clients."

Economist Chris Hart of Investment Solutions said for Sasfin to be able to raise capital in the current economic climate was an achievement. "This also shows that the local banking system is not broken by the recession."