Africa’s leading bank, Access Bank Plc has now completed the acquisition of a 78.15 percent shareholding in African Banking Corporation of Botswana Limited (BancABC Botswana).
Access Bank announced in a statement signed by Sunday Ekwochi, Company Secretary, Access Bank Plc.
According to the lender, the new acquisition will form part of the Bank’s nexus for trade and payments in Southern Africa and the broader COMESA trade region.
BancABC Bostwana is the fifth-largest bank in Botswana and is a well-capitalized franchise poised for growth in its local market. The lender’s achievements in the retail banking space will provide an opportunity for the Bank to deploy its best-in-class digital platforms and product suites to the benefit of BancABC Botswana’s customers and enable it to complete strongly across its core business segments.
Commenting on the transaction, Dr. Herbert Wigwe, GMD/CEO of the Bank, “We are pleased with the successful conclusion of this transaction which will provide significant synergies by combining BancABC Botswana’s strong retail banking operation with Access Bank’s wholesale banking capabilities. It will also strengthen the quality of earnings through revenue diversification and growth in the corporate and SME banking segments for BanABC Botswana. The combination is another step towards our broader vision of becoming the world’s Most Respected African Bank.”
Access Bank and African Banking Corporation Zambia Limited Merge to Deepen Presence in Zambia
Access Bank Plc on Monday announced it has signed a binding agreement with Atlas Mara Limited on a proposed merger between Access Bank’s subsidiary in Zambia, Access bank Zambia Limited and African Banking Corporation (Atlas Mara Zambia).
Upon completion of this prospective transaction, the Bank is expected to retain or increase its current shareholding in Access Bank Zambia, which following the merger will have over 70 branches and agencies, approximately US$1 billion in total assets and over 300,000 customers in Zambia.
The transaction will not require significant additional capital investment requirements from the Bank given the capital and other synergies created from the merger between Access Bank Zambia with Cavmont Bank in 2020. The proposed transaction is expected to be concluded in 2022, subject to fulfillment of conditions precedent including regulatory approvals in Nigeria and Zambia.
Commenting on the transaction, Dr. Herbert Wigwe, GMD/CEO of the Bank said, “This transaction represents another milestone that brings us closer to the achievement of our broader strategic objectives. The merger of Atlas Mara Zambia with Access bank Zambia is expected to augment our presence in Zambia and the broader COMESA region, Africa’s largest free trade area.
“We are particularly excited by the prospects of increased earnings contribution to the Bank from the enlarged Access Bank Zambia, which has also announced the appointment of a new Managing Director, Mr. Lishala Situmbeko, who brings over 25 years of cognate experience and deep local relationships into our Zambian operation.
“Today’s announcement is a testament to the strong confidence of the Zambian market in the Bank’s country and regional strategy as well as our strong confidence in the long-term prospects for the Zambian economy.”
Verdant Capital Advises Baxi, a Leading Super-agent in Nigeria, on its Sale to MFS Africa
MFS Africa is acquiring Baxi to expand its network into Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy and perhaps its most fintech dynamic market. Nigeria is also the largest remittance market in Africa representing one-third of intra-Africa remittance flows, and is home to the largest number of SMEs.
Verdant Capital views the two businesses as highly complimentary: Baxi simplifies and integrates online and offline payments for SMEs and merchants in Nigeria through its omni-channel distribution network; MFS Africa simplifies cross-border payments, integrating payments via one hub. The transaction further extends Verdant Capital’s track-record of advising on transactions shaping the fintech sector in Africa.
The sale of Baxi is Verdant Capital’s fifth successful fintech transaction of the year, having advised Retail Capital, a leading tech-enabled SME-financier in South Africa on a USD 10 million capital raise; Zeepay, a leading pan-African digital remittance and mobile payments business on its USD 8 million Series-A and on its acquisition of Mangwee in Zambia; and Tugende, a leading tech-enabled SME-financier in East Africa on its USD 10 million Series-A. The transactions cover West, East and South Africa. In part because of its successful track-record in transactions in the fintech sector, as well as because of its leading private equity franchise, Verdant Capital was named the best independent advisor of the year, pan-Africa, by Africa Global Funds, for the second year running in October 2021.
Founded in 2014 by Degbola Abudu and Folu Majekodunmi, Baxi is one of Nigeria’s largest independent SME-focused electronic payment networks. Baxi provides a comprehensive range of services to the last mile including cash-in/cash-out, account opening, money transfer and bill payment. Through its network of more than 90,000 agents, Baxi processed over USD 1 billion in transactions in the first nine months of 2021. Following the close of the transaction, MFS Africa plans to build Baxi into a key node on its digital payment network, allowing customers to make regional and global payments to and from Nigeria. MFS Africa also intends to expand Baxi’s proposition for offline SMEs to select markets within MFS Africa’s footprint of 320 million mobile wallets across more than 35 African countries.
Strong agent networks are the crucial interface for fintechs to reach Nigeria’s circa 100 million financially unserved or underserved population. Supporting and nurturing SMEs is crucial to Nigeria’s economy, as they contribute 50% of Gross Domestic Product and provide 76% of jobs (source: Federal Ministry of Information and Culture). With its presence in all 36 Nigerian states, Baxi fills a critical gap by providing informal SMEs and other unbanked Nigerians access to financial services. Verdant Capital is proud to support the leading businesses that support SMEs across the Continent.
MFS Africa Acquires Baxi, Expand Operations Into Africa’s Largest Economy
MFS Africa, the largest pan-African digital payments hub, announced it had signed an agreement to acquire Baxi, one of Nigeria’s largest independent SME-focused electronic payment networks. The deal, which is subject to approval from the Central Bank of Nigeria, will be the second-highest fintech acquisition in Nigeria to date.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy is the largest remittance market in Africa with one-third of intra-Africa remittance flows. MFS Africa’s presence in Nigeria to date has been limited given the country’s small number of mobile wallets. With the acquisition of Baxi, MFS Africa will expand its pan-African network into Nigeria, connecting Nigerian businesses to the continent and the rest of the world.
According to MFS Africa Founder and CEO Dare Okoudjou, he said, “this deal is a pivotal step in our journey. By combining Baxi’s network of SMEs operating as agents with our pan-African network, we aim to take Nigeria’s SMEs to the rest of Africa and the world. Our expansion into Nigeria brings us one step closer in our mission of making borders matter less,”
Baxi was founded in 2014 by Degbola Abudu and Folu Majekodunmi, the electronic payment network provides a cash-in/cash-out offering as well as value-added services — account opening, money transfer, bill payment and more — to the last mile. Through its network of more than 90,000 agents, Baxi has already processed over USD 1 Billion in transactions this year.
Following the acquisition’s close, MFS Africa will build Baxi into a key node on its digital payment network, allowing customers to make regional and global payments to and from Nigeria. MFS Africa will also expand Baxi’s proposition for offline SMEs to select markets within MFS Africa’s footprint of 320 million mobile wallets across more than 35 African countries.
Previous restrictions to mobile network operators’ participation in mobile money services have restrained the sector’s growth in Nigeria. To serve the more than 55% of Nigerian consumers currently excluded from formal financial services, Nigerian fintechs that have built strong agent networks are the crucial interface to reach Nigeria’s ~31m financially underserved and ~67m financially unserved populations. Supporting and nurturing SMEs is crucial to Nigeria’s economy, as they contribute 50% of Gross Domestic Product and provide 76% of jobs. With its presence in 36 Nigerian states, Baxi fills a critical gap by providing unbanked Nigerians and informal SMEs access to financial services.
The focus areas of both companies are complementary. Baxi simplifies and integrates online and offline payments for SMEs and merchants in Nigeria through its omnichannel distribution network. MFS Africa simplifies cross-border payments, integrating payments via one hub.
“We’re thrilled to partner with the MFS Africa team to expand our service offering for individuals and SMEs. We believe that we’ve barely scratched the market’s potential. Only 3% of Nigerian SMEs have access to credit products. By teaming up with MFS Africa, and with the strong support of our local commercial banking partners, we can offer more value-added products and services, such as cross-border payments, to support Nigerian SMEs in their growth,” said Degbola Abudu, Baxi CEO.
Baxi acquisition is MFS Africa’s third acquisition in five years, seeing the pan-African payments giant expand into Africa’s largest economy, where its presence to date has been limited given the country’s small number of mobile wallets. Capricorn will be called MFS Africa but its core product, Baxi, retains its name.
Both parties declined to disclose the value of the deal, however, Capricorn Founder and CEO, Degbola Abudu, in a call with TechCabal said the deal is the second-largest of its kind in Nigeria’s fintech space, behind the $200 million Stripe paid for Paystack last year.
MFS Africa was founded in 2009 by Dare Okoudjou, a Beninese national, while Nigeria-born Abudu started Capricorn in 2014, with Folu Majekodunmi. The acquisition creates a larger, more versatile company that fuses interoperability between money operators and a super-agent network reaching the mass market.
MFS Africa’s big vision is to have a presence in all 54 African countries, serving 500 million people and millions of small businesses, according to Okoudjou. He said, “if you have a phone or POS, it should be enough to transact with the rest of Africa and the world, we’re building the foremost, currency-agnostic, real-time hub for payments on the continent, to enable people to transfer money the way they can call each other.”
Often, MFS Africa’s continental expansion plan has involved partnering with money operators and making minority investments in other fintech companies across Africa, as in the case of Julaya, Maviance, and Numida.
However, Okoudjou explains that the company opts for full acquisition when both parties consider that a more effective way to achieve their shared long-term ambitions.
“The more we spoke with Dee, the more we realised what we could achieve with a full acquisition instead of being only investors in which case there could be misaligned incentives.”
Okoudjou further explains that the need to “bolster our presence in Nigeria” given its unique market features—the prevalence of offline payment touchpoints over mobile-first transactions—drove MFS Africa’s interest in Capricorn.
“In other markets, one or two partnerships with mobile money operators could see us reach 60% of digital payment users in the country. However, mobile money isn’t that widely adopted in Nigeria. Instead, agent networks such as Capricorn’s have grown rapidly.” He says.
For Abudu, the future of the mobile payments landscape in Africa is a game of few, where consolidation is the way forward, and attempting to scale alone would require more capital expenditure and a longer time to execute.
“It’s a good time to partner with a company that brings a real pan-African presence and we see synergies across our operations. They offer a wide range of value-added products and services like cross-border payments while we have access to SMEs in Nigeria, one of the biggest markets in Africa. We believe that we’ve barely scratched the market’s potential. The deal brings many things that allow us to grow very quickly.
“We’ve been able to build a large business with relatively small capital but now we want to be able to compete, not just in Nigeria but also across Africa, the deal with MFS Africa gives us leverage to take Baxi and the model that’s been so successful in Nigeria to other African countries.” Says Abudu
MFS Africa plans to engage with Nigeria’s central bank and other regulators to seek any other additional licenses needed to operate its full-service offerings—such as remittance, micro-lending, insurance—while also exploring commercial partnerships in the country.
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