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Network International announces new strategic vision to accelerate MEA growth and completes the acquisition of DPO Group - Inside Business Africa
Sunday, December 5Inside Business Africa
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Network International announces new strategic vision to accelerate MEA growth and completes the acquisition of DPO Group

Ambition to be the fastest-growing and most innovative customer centric payments company in Africa and the Middle East; New strategy enabled by business model transformation providing the platform for accelerated growth; Expect revenue growth of 27-29% year-on-year in 2022, medium-term revenue outlook increased to 20%+, ahead of prior guidance; DPO Group is a natural fit with Network (www.Network.ae); consolidating presence in high growth African markets, bringing direct-to-merchant services across 21 new countries, doubling Network’s online payment exposure over time; DPO acquired for USD 291.3 million, with the transaction expected to generate double digit ROCE within three years.

Network International (“Network”) today announced its new strategic vision and outlined its ambition to be the fastest-growing and most innovative customer centric payments company in the Middle East and Africa. In addition, Network also announced the successful completion of its acquisition of DPO Group (“DPO”), the leading high-growth online payments platform across Africa, for a total consideration of USD 291.3 million.

A transformation to accelerated growth

Network’s new strategic vision is enabled by a business model transformation, both operationally and culturally. Network’s strong heritage has been built upon being the direct-to-merchant payments partner of choice in the UAE and Jordan, with transaction processing the cornerstone of the customer proposition. Today, the company is transforming, providing a platform to accelerate growth through value-added-services underpinned by accelerated execution and innovation, and a focus on more direct-to merchant payment services.

Under its new strategic vision, Network is already delivering accelerated performance:

  • Market leadership: Delivering faster growth in the UAE & Jordan to extend its lead in direct-to-merchant acquiring
  • Speed of innovation: Launching a wide range of new capabilities and value-added-services in both customer business lines
  • Customer first: A restructured leadership team and organisation to be closer to customers and markets
  • Improved execution: DPO acquisition completed with entry to Saudi Arabia accelerated

The new strategy will ensure that Network is able to help businesses and economies prosper by simplifying commerce and payments through faster digital onboarding, technology advancements to lower the cost of acceptance, expanding the range of value-added services, and becoming the e-commerce champion in the region.

We are excited today to be announcing our new strategic vision, which will accelerate Network International’s growth across all its operating markets

The new strategic vision is expected to drive accelerated growth with Network’s medium term revenue outlook now forecast to be 20%+ per annum, ahead of prior low-mid teens guidance. Network also expects group underlying EBITDA margin to return to 45-50% (H1 2021: 35%) in the medium-long term and will consider selective M&A to grow faster, including in-market consolidation and acquisitions to scale faster in new markets and to shorten time to market for new capabilities.

Nandan Mer, Chief Executive Officer, commenting on the launch of the new strategic vision, said:

“We are excited today to be announcing our new strategic vision, which will accelerate Network International’s growth across all its operating markets. Our business is transforming, and our new strategy will enable us to provide customers with the simplest solutions to undertake and process payments using some of the most innovative products and services. As a result of the new strategy and our enviable position in structurally attractive growth markets across the Middle East and Africa, we now expect to deliver significantly accelerated revenue growth of over 20% per annum in the medium term.”

Completion of DPO Group acquisition

The completion of the acquisition of DPO for USD 291.3 million marks an important milestone in Network’s growth strategy and will create significant scale across its online payments business. Network will benefit from greater payments services coverage with access to DPO’s well established merchant network of over 60,000 SME and global enterprises, in 21 countries across Africa. The transaction also unlocks significant synergies across both companies, with Network gaining access to DPO’s unique and innovative online payment solutions; and DPO benefiting from Network’s strengths in face-to-face payments and its higher transaction authorisation rates.

The value of the African online payment market in 2020 was more than USD 30 billion and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of c30% between 2021 and 20251. The success of DPO’s business in Africa is underpinned by its ability to offer innovative online payments capabilities, that are tailored to address the unique needs of merchants on the continent. Merchants are able to accept online payments in over 20 currencies – including credit and debit cards, mobile money wallets, bank transfers and more. Further, DPO has also developed a comprehensive suite of value-added services, including multiple easy settlement options, fraud detection, and loyalty marketing and analytics, as well as enabling merchants to set up a business ready e-commerce store in just 72 hours.

Network’s customers will benefit from the transaction by gaining access to DPO’s entire range of payment acceptance methods and its suite of value-added services, unlocking a myriad of new opportunities for merchants to extend the reach of their businesses.

DPO continued to exceed expectations over the past twelve months despite the impact of the pandemic, delivering year-on-year revenue growth of 54% in H1 2021. Network expects the acquisition will substantially accelerate its revenue growth in Africa and lead to a doubling of online payment volume participation over time. Overall, Network expects the acquisition to deliver double digit returns (ROCE: Return On Capital Employed) in the medium term.

Commenting on the completion of the acquisition of DPO Group, Network’s Mer said:

“I am delighted to be welcoming DPO to the Network family. DPO is a strong strategic fit with our business and the acquisition creates a unique combination of innovative online payments technologies, which will accelerate our growth whilst providing significant new capabilities for our established markets. We look forward to welcoming DPO’s colleagues into our group and working together to accelerate digital payments across the MEA region.”

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