Airtel Africa has announced the signing of an agreement under which The Rise Fund, will invest Ksh. 22 billion ($200 million) in Airtel Mobile Commerce (AMC BV). The Rise Fund is the global impact investing platform of alternative investment firm TPG.
AMC BV is currently the holding company for several of Airtel Africa’s mobile money operations. The company is now intended to own and operate the mobile money businesses across all of Airtel Africa’s fourteen operating countries.
The transaction values Airtel Africa’s mobile money business at Ksh. 291 billion ($2.65 billion) on a cash and debt free basis. 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 is subject to customary closing conditions including necessary regulatory filings and approvals and the inclusion of specified mobile money business assets and contracts into AMC BV.
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.
Raghunath Mandava, CEO of Airtel Africa, commented, “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.”
Operating under the Airtel Money brand, Airtel Africa’s mobile money services is a leading digital mobile financial services platform. It includes mobile wallet deposits 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. In Nigeria, however, 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.
This year, Airtel has added partnerships with Mastercard, Samsung, Asante, Standard Chartered Bank, MoneyGram, Mukuru and WorldRemit. These partnerships aim to expand both the range and depth of the Airtel Money offerings and to further drive customer growth and penetration.
Yemi Lalude, Partner at TPG who leads Africa investing for The Rise Fund, added, “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.”