27 December 2007, Buenos Aires - Pronto!, one of the leading consumer credit companies in Uruguay, today announced that it has sold a minority interest to the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO), the international development bank of the Netherlands and one of the largest bilateral development banks worldwide. Through this transaction, FMO will inject new capital into Pronto! and provide the company with a long-term loan in local currency. Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
FMO’s investment is significant for Pronto! as it not only provides funding to support the company’s continued growth but also serves as a strong endorsement of its leadership position in the Uruguayan consumer credit market.
Pronto! is majority owned by Advent International, the global private equity firm, which led a buyout of the business in February 2007. The company’s other shareholders include Credilogros, one of the leading consumer credit companies in Argentina, and Pronto! CEO Martín Guerra.
In less than a year since Advent’s buyout, Pronto! has experienced significant growth. The company has doubled its loan portfolio, expanded its client base by 80% from 75,000 to 135,000, and increased revenue by 70%. At the same time, it has reinforced its management team, strengthened its corporate governance and IT systems and introduced new products including payroll-deducted loans and consumer loans at retailers and dealers.
“This agreement solidifies our standing as one of the premier consumer credit companies in Uruguay and positions us for sustained growth,” said Martín Guerra, CEO of Pronto! “We are pleased to be able to raise financing from a world-class institution such as FMO and to have them as a shareholder. This is a significant step forward for the company.”
Jaap Reinking, Manager of FMO, commented: “We have selected Pronto! as one of the best platforms in terms of management, corporate governance, credit scoring, databases, distribution network and compliance in the region. We see this investment as a way to assist in the continued development of the consumer credit market in Uruguay.”
Nicolás Sujoy, a Principal in Advent International’s Buenos Aires office, said: “Adding an investor of FMO’s stature gives Pronto! a further stamp of quality and reflects on the strength of the business. We look forward to working with FMO to support the company’s growth and build a business of significant scale in the Uruguayan market.”
Founded in 1997 and based in Montevideo, Pronto! provides consumer loans to low- to middle-income individuals through a network of 36 branches covering the entire country. The company also has a credit card business through an agreement with Cabal, a local credit card. With more than 135,000 active customers, Pronto! provides an average of 12,000 new loans per month and has expanded its loan portfolio 200% a year over the last two years.
About Netherlands Development Finance Company
The Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO) is the international development bank of the Netherlands. FMO invests risk capital in companies and financial institutions in developing countries. FMO's investment portfolio is EUR 2.7 billion, which is relatively evenly split among all four global regions. FMO is one of the largest bilateral development banks worldwide. Thanks in part to its relationship with the Dutch government, FMO is able to take risks which commercial financiers are not – or not yet – prepared to take. FMO's mission: to create flourishing enterprises, which can serve as engines of sustainable growth in their countries.