Central & South America
Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO)Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries (BIO) Contact: Paul Goossens
The Belgian Investment Company for Developing Countries: BIO invests in Small & Medium Enterprises and Microfinance Financial Institutions in the developing world. BIO is operational in the 109 countries classified by the OECD as "Least Developed Countries", "Low Income Countries" and "Lower-middle Income Countries", also known as the DAC-list*, with a special emphasis on the partner countries of the Belgian Development Cooperation and on less developed countries. Our investments concentrate primarily in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
BIO invests in all sectors of activity, with the exception of those named in the exclusion list of the International Finance Corporation or IFC. Its operations focus more specifically on the following sectors: Banks,- Leasing/factoring Companies, Investment Funds, Microfinance Institutions, Agro-industry, Breeding, Water access, and Infrastructure.
BIO uses a series of financial tools designed to contribute to the expansion of existing organisations or to help companies to set up in business. These investments can be made in Euros or in US dollars but also in local currency, on a case by case basis. Our investments range from $500K to $2.5 million. However, we can provide lower sums as grants or loans for project startup.
Equity and quasi-equity
New companies or those who wish to expand their activities or strengthen their financial base can benefit from BIO’s support in the form of a direct equity stake or via financial institutions. BIO always takes a minority stake, generally tied to a seat on the Board of Directors, meant to be ceded to other shareholders, third parties or on the financial market once the company has reached a sustainable maturity level. BIO also uses quasi-equity (mezzanine, subordinated loans, convertible loans, etc.) to strengthen the financial resources of up and coming companies, without diluting the position of its shareholders.
BIO offers a broad range of direct medium and long term loans at both fixed and variable rates. Their term can vary between 3 and 10 years, with a grace period of 3 years maximum.
BIO’s signature is a guarantee of solvability and facilitates the mobilisation of resources by private sector borrowers by guaranteeing certain obligations on their behalf.
Finally, BIO provides grants for feasibility studies prior to an investment or technical assistance necessary for the success of a project. These amounts are non-refundable.