Actis To Buy S. African ATM, Payment Business For $95M

Actis To Buy S. African ATM, Payment Business For $95M

There are millions of Africans who deal solely in cash, and London-based private equity firm Actis is betting those shoppers will soon begin using plastic credit and debit cards.

Targeting the burgeoning ATM market among low-income shoppers, Actis plans to buy the electronic payment and ATM business of South Africa’s Transaction Capital for $95 million, according to a Reuters report.

Actis, which focuses on emerging markets, will pay $95 million for Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed Transaction Capital’s Paycorp unit, the companies said.

Transaction Capital is a financial services firm focused on asset-back lending and credit services.

While South Africa has the continent’s most sophisticated banking network, there are still millions of people who rely solely on cash, the report said. Actis, which has done several deals in the payments industry, is betting those shoppers will begin to use cards.

Paycorp’s founder and CEO and his team will be co-investors in the deal.

Paycorp operates more than 4,000 ATMs in South Africa and provides card payment terminals to shops and restaurants.

The purchase price values Paycorp at 7.3 times its latest full-year earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization.

It also represents more than twice the amount Transaction Capital paid to buy the business in 2007.

Paycorp’s competitors are mostly unlisted companies such as South Africa’s Spark ATM Systems and payment company SureSwipe.

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Shares of the company were up 4.6 percent mid afternoon Wednesday.

Actis is not the only large private equity firm looking to do more deals in fast-growing Africa.

U.S.-based Carlyle Group in 2011 launched a $500 million Africa fund and is focused on South Africa, Nigeria, East Africa and Ghana for potential deals, Reuters reported.