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Wed 2 Mar 2016 02:01 PM

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Dubai's Network International inks $340m deal to buy rival payments provider

The deal creates the largest payments processor in the Middle East and Africa

Dubai's Network International inks $340m deal to buy rival payments provider
Bhairav Trivedi, CEO of Network International

Dubai-based payments provider Network International has agreed to buy rival Emerging Markets Payments Group (EMP) from emerging markets private equity investor Actis for what sources familiar with the matter said was $340 million.

The deal, which creates the largest payments processor in the Middle East and Africa, is the first acquisition made by the payments firm since private equity firms Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic bought a 49 percent stake late last year.

EMP has an extensive footprint in the Middle East and Africa, serving more than 35,000 retailers and 130 banks and processing over nine million accounts. It has four key business lines including bank processing, merchant acquiring, retailer processing, and ATM services. The company serves a full range of card schemes including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners Club, and China UnionPay.

Abdulla Qassem, chairman of Network International, said: “We are delighted to announce our strategic investment in EMP. Together, Network International and EMP will be the clear market leader across the Middle East and Africa with presence across 71 countries. 

"Combined, we have an even greater opportunity to continue to grow our footprint across the GCC and wider MEA region and provide industry-leading service to our merchant, bank and card processing partners as the industry continues to consolidate. We look forward to welcoming the EMP team to our business as we continue along this exciting growth path.”

Bhairav Trivedi, CEO of Network International, said: “The combined strength of Network International and EMP creates an undisputed regional payments giant with a combined revenue five times larger than our closest competitor.

"Our acquisition of EMP will enable us to effectively service over 170 banks as clients and more than 70,000 merchants across the MEA. This is a significant milestone in Network International’s expansion plans as we continue to grow in terms of expertise, offering and market share.”

He said Network International is creating an organisation that is five times larger than its closest competitor, Lebanon-based CSC, and would allow the Dubai-based firm to grow its revenue in the mid- to high-30s percent in 2016.

Dubai's largest bank, Emirates NBD, owns 51 percent of Network International, with the remainder held by US private equity firms Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic.

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