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Home Business Airtel Mobile Commerce, Airtel Africa’s mobile money business raises $200m from TPG’s The Rise Fund

Airtel Mobile Commerce, Airtel Africa’s mobile money business raises $200m from TPG’s The Rise Fund

by Milcah Lukhanyu
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Airtel Mobile Commerce BV (AMC BV), Airtel Africa’s mobile money business has raised $200 million from The Rise Fund, the impact investing arm of TPG.

The Rise Fund will hold a minority stake in AMC BV upon completion of the Transaction, with Airtel Africa continuing to hold the remaining majority stake. The Transaction now values AMC BV at $2.65 billion on a cash and debt-free basis.

According to Raghunath Mandava, CEO of Airtel Africa, “In line with our vision of enhancing financial inclusion, Airtel Africa offers a unique digital mobile financial services platform under the Airtel Money brand. In most of our markets there is limited access to traditional financial institutions, and little banking infrastructure, with less than half of the population having a bank account across sub-Saharan Africa. Our markets therefore afford substantial market potential for mobile money services to meet the needs of the tens of millions of customers in Africa who have little or no access to banking and financial services, and this demand is driving growth.”

The Group is in discussions with other potential investors in relation to possible further minority investments into Airtel Money, up to a total of 25% of the issued share capital of AMC BV. The proceeds from the Transaction will be used to reduce Group debt and invest in network and sales infrastructure in the respective operating countries.

Operating under the Airtel Money brand, Airtel Africa’s mobile money services is catering to a large addressable market in Africa (characterized by limited access to formal financial institutions with limited banking infrastructure) and includes mobile wallet deposit and withdrawals, merchant and commercial payments, benefits transfers, loans and savings, virtual credit card and international money transfers.

Mobile money services are available across the Group’s 14 countries of operation, however in Nigeria the Group offers Airtel Money services through a partnership with a local bank and has applied for its own mobile banking license. It is the intention that all mobile money operations will be owned and operated by AMC BV.

In our most recent reported results for Q3, the mobile money service segment generated revenue of $110 million ($440 million annualized), and underlying EBITDA of $54 million ($216 million annualized) at a margin of 48.7%. The mobile money service had a year-on-year revenue growth for the quarter was 41.1% in constant currency, largely driven by 29% growth in the customer base to 21.5 million, and 9.7% ARPU growth. Growth in transaction value was 53.0% to $12.8 billion ($51 billion annualized).

The group has this year signed partnerships with Mastercard, Samsung, Asante, Standard Chartered Bank, MoneyGram, Mukuru and WorldRemit to expand both the range and depth of the Airtel Money offerings and to further drive customer growth and penetration.

The profits before tax in the full year ending 31 March 2020 and the value of gross assets as of that date, attributable to the mobile money businesses were $143.4 million and $463.2 million, respectively.

In a statement, Yemi Lalude, Partner at TPG who leads Africa investing for The Rise Fund, said “Financial inclusion is a global issue that is most acute in Africa. Through Airtel Money, Airtel Africa has built a unique platform that is closing the gap between traditional financial institutions and the millions of unbanked Africans across the 14 countries where Airtel Africa operates. We look forward to working with Airtel Africa to enhance their mobile money services, broaden its use cases, and grow into new markets. With this investment in Airtel Africa’s mobile money operations, we are excited to expand The Rise Fund’s global fintech portfolio and continue to deepen our focus on improving financial inclusion in Africa and around the world.”

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