It is possible to invest in different currencies on the Mintos platform. All you need to do is send money on Mintos and then exchange to any currency you need for a small fee (see example below). Today I would like to present invest opportunity in Tenge currency. The reason is simple – 18% interest rate plus discount up to 1% on secondary market is quite tempting deal.
However you should know a few things before you start investing in Kazakhstan as 18% interest rate logically brings risks. Let’s take a closer look on them.
Kazakhstan is one of the relatively fast-growing economies, which is supported with the increasing GDP. The economic crisis was also reflected in Kazakhstan’s economic growth. However not so significantly as in most EU Member States (except Poland). Kazakhstan economy experienced “only” slowdown (+ 1.2% of GDP in 2009 and 2015, + 1.1% in 2016 GDP), which was also associated with relatively strong inflationary pressures (14.6% in 2016). In 2017, the economy was already growing at a favorable 4.1% of GDP – the same as in the following year 2018. Public debt remains low (21% of GDP in 2018) with a slight gradual increase. Growth is seen easing somewhat this year but will remain healthy nonetheless. Government policies to improve the business climate and develop infrastructure are set to shore up fixed investment, while a planned debt relief program should uphold private consumption. Ebbing exports growth amid lingering trade tensions and volatility in commodity prices, cloud the outlook. Forecasts project GDP to increase 3.8% in 2020 and 3.9% in 2021.
In this environment, I do not expect a significant depreciation of Kazakh tenge, which is one of the reasons why I decided to invest. However, I remain cautious and it is necessary to consider currency risk related to Tenge on regular basis. That is why I have decided to invest only 3% of my capital in Kazakhstan loans and I hold most of my loans in Euro currency as mentioned in previous article. Another factor to consider is loan originator itself. Lets take a closer look on ID Finance – the company behind loans in Kazakhstan.
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Loan originator ID Finance
The updated information on the financial performance of ID Finance’ Kazakhstani asset demonstrates positive dynamics. In 2019, ID Finance reported a 300% growth over the year according to preliminary management reporting data. In December 2019, the company’s portfolio amounted to € 42.7 million compared to € 12.8 million in December 2018. According to the National Bank of Kazakhstan, for the first half of 2019 ID Finance earned a net profit of € 665 000. The company’s market share grew from 2.6% in 2018 to 2.7% in the first half of 2019. Audited reporting will be published tentatively in May 2020.
Kazakhstan is home to 172 registered MIFs with total assets of € 718.3 million (as of Q2 2019), 108 of which were profitable by the end of 2019. With 27.5 million EUR (a 32.1% YOY growth) and a market share of 3.8% in terms of assets, ranked fourth among these companies.
Judging by the current run-rate, in 2020, ID Finance Kazakhstan is planning on significantly improving profitability by improving approvals and recovery rate. The company is planning on strengthening existing segments and entering new ones (e.g. refinancing and SME business loans). Just in the first 2 weeks of 2020, the growth in active customers amounted to 66% compared to January 2019. In 2019, the number of registered users grew 219% YOY. As of January 2020, ID Finance has more than 644 000 registered users, or 6.5% of the country’s employable population, and 90% of them are returning customers.
All the estimates and unaudited figures sounds great right? Before you invest, let’s look back into the past on the performance of whole IDF Holding (Russia, Kazakhstan, Georgia) in 2018.
First of all, we are dealing with relatively large provider, which according to the audited reports generated revenues of USD 135 million last year (of which approximately USD 38 million in Kazakhstan) and net profit before taxes was USD 17 million (of which nearly 16 million USD in Kazakhstan). For comparison, Mogo generated revenues of EUR 58 million and net profit of EUR 2.6 million last year. Banknote had a net profit of EUR 4.6 million. Do not be confused by the fact that ID Finance has three entities on Mintos: Spanish, Kazakh and Mexican. Originally, these entities, together with other companies, were under one IDF Holding. However, last year, 100% of ID Finance Investments (both Spain and Latin America) were transferred to IDF Holding shareholders as a dividend, which means that Spain and Mexico left the consolidated financial statements discussed above. In the following paragraphs I will only analyze the results of ID Finance in Kazakhstan. The rating of Mintos is B +. I would like to take a closer look at the reports to make my own picture and risk assesment.
In terms of financing, $ 35 million of assets are funded with equity of $ 19.7 million and loans of $ 15.2 million. Therefore, the gearing is relatively healthy and I do not see a high risk in case of economic slowdown.
You should also know that some customer loans are not paid so the company must write them off completely. At the end of last year, the gross size of the loans in Kazakhstan was $ 59.2 million and the reported allowance was $ 25.6 million.
However, not repaid loans are very rare – at least that is my experience. Moreover, I only invest in loans with a “buy-back guarantee”. Compare to Euro loans, there is only few Kazakhstan loans in delay status. It is possible that it is good payment discipline of the population in Kazakhstan, or maybe I am just lucky. To be as transparent as possible I am providing my own sample of 93 loans as visible from my Mintos account in the screen shot below. 73 loans is in current status.
The loans on the Kazakhstan market carry the risks described above so all the factors should be considered before you invest. For me, the interest over 18% including discount on Mintos secondary market is too attractive, therefore I decided to invest 3% of my capital in these loans. The level of risk compare to current ridiculous interest rates on savings accounts, term deposits and similar products is definitely worth it. In the next episode I will focus on loans in Russia, where the annual percentage of return is slightly lower. On the other hand, I have found other benefits. Stay tuned and read the next episode.
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Sources: Finlord.cz, Mintos.com, Focus-economics.com