Rural-focussed microfinance institution Annapurna Finance Pvt. Ltd said that it has raised $19.1 million (Rs 137 crore) in equity funding from multilateral lender Asian Development Bank (ADB) to grow its loan book. Annapurna, which counts Oman India Joint Investment Fund (OIJIF) and SIDBI Venture Capital among its backers, said it will use the fresh capital to expand its microfinance portfolio by extending microcredit to women members of Joint Liability Groups (JLGs). As of 31 March 2018, the firm had a gross loan portfolio of $275 million (Rs 1,954 crore) which grew 58 per cent on an annual basis, according to a report by industry body MicroFinance Institutions Network. Gobinda Chandra Pattanaik, MD, Annapurna, said: “We are at a juncture, where the business model has been proven and is also scaling well. “This transaction will help us in growing our presence in new asset classes like MSME and affordable housing.” Unitus Capital served as the exclusive financial advisor for the transaction. ADB typically provides debt finance, but the Manila-based financial institution has been planning to deploy more capital via equity investments in India - a country it considers its “biggest market”.