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QIA to invest $200m in Airtel Mobile Commerce BV

Anna Lyudvig
Aug. 2, 2021, 9:55 p.m.
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Qatar Holding, an affiliate of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), has agreed to $200m in Airtel Mobile Commerce BV (AMC BV), a subsidiary of Airtel Africa. AMC BV is the holding company for several of Airtel Africa’s mobile money operations; and ultimately is intended to own and operate the mobile money businesses across all of Airtel Africa’s fourteen operating countries.

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Qatar Holding, an affiliate of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), has agreed to $200m in Airtel Mobile Commerce BV (AMC BV), a subsidiary of Airtel Africa. AMC BV is the holding company for several of Airtel Africa’s mobile money operations; and ultimately is 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 $2.65bn on a cash and debt free basis.

QIA will hold a minority stake in AMC BV upon completion of the transaction alongside other minority investors.

The proceeds from the transaction will be used to reduce Group debt and invest in network and sales infrastructure in the respective operating countries.

Mansoor bin Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud, CEO of QIA, commented: “We are delighted to build on our support of Airtel Africa in promoting financial inclusion to the large and growing population of Sub-Saharan Africa. Airtel Money plays a critical role in facilitating economic activity, including for customers without access to traditional financial services. We firmly believe in its mission to expand these efforts over the coming years.”

QIA will invest $200m through a secondary purchase of shares in AMC BV from Airtel Africa.

The transaction will close in two stages: $150m will be invested at first close, subject to customary closing conditions including necessary regulatory filings, with $50m to be invested at second close once further transfers of certain mobile money operations and contracts into the AMC BV perimeter have been completed.

The transaction’s first close is expected in August.

From first close, QIA will be entitled to appoint a director to the board of AMC BV and to certain customary information and minority protection rights.

Operating under the Airtel Money brand, Airtel Africa’s mobile money services is a digital mobile financial services platform catering to a large addressable market in Africa and includes mobile wallet deposit and withdrawals, merchant and commercial payments, benefits transfers, loans and savings, virtual 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 licence. It is the intention that all mobile money operations will be owned and operated by AMC BV.

Last year the company partnered 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.

Following a $200m investment by TPG's The Rise Fund, a $100m investment by MasterCard and the sale of the Group's telecommunication towers companies in Madagascar and Malawi, the latest transaction is a continuation of the Group’s pursuit of strategic asset monetization and investment opportunities.

Raghunath Mandava, CEO of Airtel Africa, said: “We are pleased to welcome QIA as a prospective investor in our mobile money business, joining both Mastercard and TPG’s The Rise Fund as a further partner to help us realise the full potential from the substantial opportunity to bank the unbanked across Africa.”

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