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DiCaprio-backed Kingo secures $15.5 million in debt to expand off-grid solar

Guatemalan company Kingo sells prepaid home solar systems to low-income, off-grid households in Guatemala, Colombia and South Africa. The company has more than 60,000 household customers and installs roughly 7,000 systems per month.

Kingo has secured a $15.5 million, seven-year loan from Dutch development finance institution FMO, impact investor Oikocredit and the Infrastructure Development Fund. The loan was arranged by FMO in local currency, and includes $10 million in senior debt and $5.5 million in subordinated debt. (The Infrastructure Development Fund provided the subordinated debt.)

The latest round of debt follows actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s equity investment in Kingo in April. “Solar power is key to a future without fossil fuels, and Kingo’s technology will help enable broad use of clean energy across the developing world,” DiCaprio said at the time. DiCaprio has also made other impact investments, including in sustainable seafood company Love the Wild.

Kingo has raised more than $25 million in prior funding rounds. Last year, it raised a $10 million Series B round backed by French energy company ENGIE and Colombian utility EPM.

For its latest debt round, the loan’s structure—in local currency and in senior and junior tranches—was likely done to ease Kingo’s repayment terms, given that Kingo’s customers make payments in Guatemala’s local currency.

An African Development Bank-backed fund, the Off-Grid Energy Access Fund, was recently structured to make loans to companies like Kingo in local currencies to mitigate “currency mismatch”.

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