ANI to tap $100-M financing, plans stock rights offer

Published February 24, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By James A. Loyola

Global investment bank Vnesto Capital has expressed interest in financing the expansion projects of listed AgriNurture, Inc. (ANI) to the tune of US$100 million even as the listed firm is planning a stock rights offering.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, ANI said its Board of Directors has accepted Vnesto’s letter of intent to provide a long-term loan with interest pegged at Treasury bill rates plus three percent.

The final amount and terms of the long term financing deal would be finalized upon completion of due diligence process. Upon the acceptance of the LOI, the formal application process officially commenced.

Vnesto Capital is a US-based global investment bank that provides long-term project financing and equity capital for enterprises in emerging markets.

ANI also disclosed that its Board has given the green light to contract Abacus Capital and Investment Corporation to act as underwriter and financial advisor for a planned stock rights offering as well as the issuance and listing of warrants.

This developed as ANI’s board of directors authorized the company to subscribe to additional shares of Binangongan Rural Bank, Inc. (BRB) which owns one of the few electronic money issuer (EMI) licenses issued in the country by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

The move is part of a plan to establish a closed loop agricultural ecosystem being envisioned by ANI. Together with BRB, ANI’s e-wallet can now be in sync with ATM cards of the bank and allows farmers to access cash anytime anywhere.

BRB has licensed Financial Technology Platforms that can improve the access of Filipino farmers – especially those in remote areas – to Agri Agra Micro Financing.

Earthright Holdings Inc. (EHI), the parent firm of listed ANI has acquired a significant stake in BRB via subscription agreement to hike the bank’s capital recently.

The partnership will launch a full digital banking platform in the first half of the year aimed at providing microfinancing to farmers.

ANI president Antonio Tiu said the company also received the green light from the board to submit unsolicited proposals to the Department of Agriculture (DA) and National Food Authority (NFA) in relation to DA’s Ri-Co or Rice and Corn Project.

Toward this end, ANI seeks to form a partnership with DA to participate in the project. Likewise, ANI seeks to introduce the Rice and Corn Blend to the NFA as alternative staple food.