BlueOrchard announces strong first half year impact and results amid Covid-19 pandemic

30/07/2020 News, News Releases
  • – BlueOrchard increased its reach, and is now providing access to financial and related services to more than 39 million individuals with low-income in emerging and frontier markets as of June 2020.
  • – The InsuResilience Investment Fund (IIF) Private Equity Sub-Fund held its final closing and is currently helping to protect more than 20 million vulnerable people from the effects of climate change.
  • – The flagship BlueOrchard Microfinance Fund (BOMF) increased AuM to USD 2.46 billion and continues to deliver strong performance, investing more than USD 200 million in the past six months; as of June 2020, the fund is invested in 155 institutions across 49 countries in emerging and frontier markets.
  • – BlueOrchard responds to the Covid-19 pandemic by investing through its BO UCITS EM Impact Bond Fund in excess of USD 12 million in Covid-19 bonds, including issuances from Guatemala, Paraguay, the African Development Bank and the IFC.
  • – BlueOrchard meets challenges of the pandemic with increased client support, unprecedented industry collaboration and an expansion of critical technical assistance offerings.

Zurich, 30 July 2020 – Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Swiss impact investment manager BlueOrchard Finance Ltd (BlueOrchard) has succeeded in further strengthening its position as the leading impact investment manager, delivering strong social, environmental and financial performance across its investment strategies. 

Most recently, BlueOrchard announced the USD 80 million final closing of the InsuResilience Investment Fund (IIF) Private Equity Sub-Fund, a first of its kind initiative to improve access to climate insurance across the developing world. The fund has already made six investments across emerging and frontier markets, helping to protect more than 20 million vulnerable people from the effects of climate change. IIF is a prime example of a successful blended finance strategy and has attracted investments from established investors in both the public and private sectors, including the European Investment Bank and Soros Economic Development Fund.

BlueOrchard’s flagship fund, the BlueOrchard Microfinance Fund (BOMF), increased assets under management amid Covid-19 pandemic and reached USD 2.46 billion by the end of June. The fund delivered stable financial returns to investors throughout the first half year, while also achieving a positive social impact across eleven of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With a 20 year track record, BOMF is the world’s first and largest commercial microfinance fund dedicated to emerging and frontier markets. As of 30 June 2020, more than 27 million micro-entrepreneurs have been reached by microfinance institutions funded by BOMF, enabling them to create and grow income-generating activities and to break out of poverty. BOMF serves a borrower population that is 78% female, and 53% rural. BOMF, as well as BlueOrchard’s impact management system, have received independent verification for their alignment with the IFC-led Operating Principles for Impact Management (Principles). The Principles represent a standard for impact investing.

As an impact investor, BlueOrchard sees it as its responsibility to play an important role in reducing the impact of Covid-19 on the most vulnerable by channelling financial sources where it is needed most. The BlueOrchard UCITS Emerging Markets SDG Impact Bond Fund (IBF) has therefore invested into social bonds from the International Finance Corporation, an arm of the World Bank, the African Development Bank, issuances from Paraguay and Guatemala as part of a collaborative response to the Covid-19 pandemic. These bond issuances will support affected developing countries, with the main goal to maintain jobs, build out healthcare systems and reduce the economic impact of the pandemic. Together with other investment originators and fund managers in impact investing, BlueOrchard has furthermore signed a Memorandum of Understanding on debt refinancing coordination principles to support the sector during the Covid-19 pandemic. BlueOrchard has also expanded its Technical Assistance offering and developed a Covid-19 training program for microfinance institutions.

Outlook

As an impact investor, BlueOrchard will continue to focus on responding to the Covid-19 pandemic In the second half of 2020 through the provision of liquidity and by helping to build the resilience of financial institutions in emerging and frontier markets. In this context, BlueOrchard is collaborating with a number of potential investors, including Schroders, in the development of a new financing initiative to support partner institutions and their portfolio companies through the provision of emergency and longer-term liquidity with a view towards minimizing Covid-19 related disruption and setting a course to renewed growth.

Another priority for BlueOrchard will be addressing the funding gap for green infrastructure projects across emerging and frontier markets to mitigate climate change and contribute to the achievement of the SDGs.

Peter A. Fanconi, Chairman of the Board at BlueOrchard, said: “I am delighted that our teams successfully navigated the very challenging environment to deliver a strong first half of 2020. We feel honoured that investors and investees are turning to our 20 years of experience to drive impact and sustainable economic and social growth.”

Philipp Müller, Chief Executive Officer at BlueOrchard, said: “In the past half year we have shown how resilient we are as a business and as a team. I am very proud of the energy and dedication our staff has shown during the past six months. Building on our long tradition of staying close to investors, investees, and partners, we have adapted quickly during these extraordinary times, continuing to advance our mission.”

Maria Teresa Zappia, Chief Impact & Blended Finance Officer and Deputy CEO at BlueOrchard said: “Our results in the first half of 2020 reflect the progress in empowering people across the emerging world to grow out of poverty and resist the effects of climate change. In these uncertain times, we will continue to do our utmost to help the most vulnerable withstand and emerge even stronger from the crisis.”

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About BlueOrchard Finance Ltd

BlueOrchard is a leading global impact investment manager and a member of the Schroders group. The firm is dedicated to fostering inclusive and climate-smart growth in emerging and frontier markets, while providing attractive returns for investors. BlueOrchard was founded in 2001, by initiative of the UN, as the world’s first commercial manager of microfinance debt investments. The firm has built a distinct track record in offering premium impact investment solutions, including credit, private equity, and sustainable infrastructure. Being an expert in innovative blended finance mandates, the firm is a trusted partner of leading global development finance institutions. BlueOrchard has invested to date more than USD 7bn for sophisticated global private and public clients, enabling tangible social and environmental impact. For additional information, please visit: www.blueorchard.com.

For further information, please contact:

Tahmina Theis
+41 22 596 47 69
tahmina.theis@blueorchard.com
www.blueorchard.com

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