Network International’s offering includes acquiring and processing services, and an ever-evolving range of value-added services
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: The company, which operates across Africa and the Middle East, has seen financial outcomes that reflect solid trading and strategic delivery, driving strong cashflow generation; Figures include new financial institution wins and merchant signups; accelerated transaction growth; cross-selling and launching of new value-added services; and new products and capabilities gaining momentum; Customer wins in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and direct-to-merchant services underway in Egypt; Consistent growth across Africa with revenue increased by 55.8% y/y to USD 68.5 million; Total Processed Volumes (“TPV”) increased 43% y/y supported by strategic focus on SME and online merchants.
Network International interim results
Network International reports strong H1 2022 results with total revenue growing 31% y/y demonstrating broad-based growth across all regions and business lines, with Africa growing 21% y/y excluding DPO Group and the Middle East up 22% y/y.
Profit for the period was USD 32.0 million, up 113% y/y. Underlying free cash flow was USD 40.0 million, up 90% y/y; and cash flow from operating activities was USD 90.6 million, supported by strong underlying business performance and higher net profit.
Network International, comprised of a group of companies, is a leading enabler of digital commerce across the Middle East & Africa, providing a full suite of technology enabled payment solutions to merchants and financial institutions of all types and sizes.
Network International’s offering includes acquiring and processing services, and an ever-evolving range of value-added services. In 2021, Network International acquired DPO Group, a leading African digital payments company, in a landmark deal for the African payments landscape.
Network International has offices in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and Egypt, and client presence across almost all other African countries.
Nandan Mer, Chief Executive Officer, commented:
“We are encouraged by the continued progress of our growth strategy, with another strong trading period delivering 31% y/y revenue growth. This is supported by the acceleration of digital payments growth across our markets, successful strategic execution and share gains in our home market of the UAE. Our market entry into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is progressing well, having recently secured a second new customer this year. We also see an opportunity to return excess cash to shareholders through a share buyback programme, whilst retaining our existing flexibility to take advantage of additional growth opportunities which may arise.
Overall, our performance in the first half underpins our outlook and guidance for the year ahead, which is reconfirmed. Whilst we remain conscious of rising global macroeconomic and inflationary pressures, we continue to see steady trading in our major markets.”
New customer wins: continues to develop at record levels
The pace of new Financial Institution (FI) customer wins in Acquirer Processing and Issuer Solutions remains ahead of pre-pandemic levels. Network secured nine new customers in the period, including Money Fellows, Network’s first fintech win in Egypt; Fair Money Digital Bank, one of Nigeria’s premier digital banks; and Alain Finance PJSC, the company’s first non-banking FI customer in the UAE. Network renewed three existing contracts and expanded portfolios with customers through successful cross-selling; including the deployment of N-GeniusTM payment terminals to Access Bank in Botswana, among others.
Network also saw a record period for new merchant sign ups such as Chanel, Hilton Palm Jumeirah and Landmark Group in the UAE, alongside Talabat and Marriot Amman in Jordan, amongst many others. The focus within the SME space remains successful, with signings doubling year-on-year vs H1 2021, supported by the launch of automated onboarding, low cost ‘Tap on Phone’ payment acceptance and web-store services associated with the ‘DPO Pay’ package. DPO has also rolled out proprietary N-GeniusTM payment terminals to the entire Roads and Transport Authority taxi fleet in Dubai.
Capabilities: a widening revenue pool and increasing customer loyalty through new capabilities
Network provided new services for FIs and credential issuing customers including:
Implementing more APIs, accelerating customer onboarding process and simplifying the integration of new capabilities, which is particularly attractive for fintech customers.
Providing real time, improved credit-based analysis and approvals to FIs through the Falcon Fraud Prevention solution, in partnership with FICO.
Launching Chat banking services to FI customers in Africa with Infobip, enabling real-time customer service chat and push notifications to consumers, whilst supporting Network’s commitment to improving financial inclusion.
Launching the N-GeniusTM Terminal Management System, a web tool enabling FIs to independently manage their merchant customers’ Point-Of-Sale device, in real time.
Continuing good progress on initiatives with Mastercard, having onboarded several FIs with 3D Secure 2.0 biometric authentication fraud checking capabilities. Network has also seen ‘Fintech in a box’ gain traction across new markets including Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa and Jordan; where it can support the issuance of cards and undertake processing for fintechs.
Network has also launched or will be launching value-added services including:
Supporting merchants through a dedicated value-added-services team, managing the development of products, partnerships and enhancing go-to-market strategy.
Enabling faster sign up of merchants having launched fully automated digital onboarding.
Developing Unified Commerce services by providing a single, centralized view of transactions across online and offline payment channels, as well as enhanced reporting tools and data insights on consumer spending. Network already offers merchants the ability to enable ‘Click and Collect’ payment services and ‘Buy Online, Return in Store’ via its proprietary N-GeniusTM platform. Looking ahead, the company intends to expand these services to include a wider range of cross-channel refunds, such as ‘Buy in-store and refund online’, provide real-time access to consumer transaction data and reporting, real-time fraud screening analytics and additional tools such as merchant cost efficiency reporting.
Launching a fully integrated payments platform tailored to the hospitality industry, in partnership with FreedomPay. The omni-channel platform provides merchants with a unified view of transactions across their entire operation, including front desk reservations, restaurants, bars, theme parks and spas.
Launching ‘Foodics Pay’, for SMEs in the food and beverage space, reducing costs for merchants by unifying tasks such as single receipts, daily settlements and chargeback support on a single app. The sector-specific solutions support our strategic focus on SMEs.
DPO: acceleration in trading through the first half, supported by the launch of new capabilities
DPO delivered good growth in the first half of 2022 with Total Processed Volume (TPV) increasing 27% year-on-year (33% in constant FX); whilst revenue increased 23% year-on-year (29% in constant FX). Trading volumes accelerated through the period, with Q2 revenue up 35% year-on-year in constant FX, compared with the Q1 up 22% year-on-year in constant FX.
DPO secured several new key merchants including Dischem Baby City, Europcar and Pernod Ricard. The wins and improving trading performance were supported by marketing channel developments which have accelerated new merchant acquisitions and the introduction of real-time onboarding in 18 countries outside of South Africa. DPO also added new payment methods, rolling out Airtel money in a further three markets and enabling account-to-account payment for all DPO merchants in South Africa and Nigeria.
New markets: customer wins in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia; direct-to-merchant services in Egypt
Network has signed two additional FIs for Issuer Solutions processing services in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. These contracts provide a solid underpin to Network’s revenue target. Full technology deployment on-soil and established connectivities with domestic and international card schemes has been completed.
In Egypt, Network is launching direct-to-merchant payment services focusing on the SME segment during the second half of 2022. The company expects the revenue opportunity to build from 2023 onwards.
Africa: a robust and consistent growth
DPO’s Africa segment operates across 40 countries and contributed 33% of total revenue in the period (H1 2021: 28%). The majority of business activities relate to payment processing on behalf of Financial Institutions across Issuer and Merchant Solutions, and also includes direct-to-merchant services in 21 markets through DPO.
Africa revenue increased by 55.8% y/y to USD 68.5 million (H1 2021: USD 44.0 million), including a USD 15.2 million contribution from DPO. Excluding DPO, revenue growth was 21.1% y/y.
Overall performance in Africa remains robust, with growth consistent between the quarters. Excluding DPO, performance was relatively stronger in Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa than seen in Southern Africa. The region saw continued expansion in all associated KPIs, with particularly strong growth in the number of transactions processed across Issuer Solutions services.
Contribution for the Africa segment increased 80.0% y/y, to USD 50.2 million (H1 2021: USD 27.9 million), with margins up 980 bps y/y to 73.3% (H1 2021: 63.5%), driven by the inclusion of DPO which has higher contribution margins. Excluding DPO, contribution for Africa increased by 36.4% y/y to USD 38.1 million, with margins of 71.5%, up 800 bps y/y, reflecting the significant revenue growth and inherent operating leverage in the business.
Issuer Solutions revenue: strong growth in Africa
Issuer Solutions represents 50% of total revenue (H1 2021: 55%) and is broadly balanced between the Middle East and Africa regions.
During the first half, revenue increased by 17.5% y/y to USD 101.8 million (H1 2021: USD 86.7 million). Strong growth was seen in both quarters, with trends in KPIs also robust as credentials hosted increased 4.3% y/y and growth in the number of transactions accelerated, up 30.1% y/y. Whilst the performance is reflective of solid trading across all regions, Africa delivered particularly strong growth, supported by an increase in credentials hosted following the onboarding of new customers in the prior year and an improvement in cross-sell. The overall momentum in new business wins, cross-selling and expansion of existing client portfolios remains positive, resulting in revenues from new contracts and renewed card portfolios alongside value added and project-based services.
Merchant Solutions revenue
Merchant Solutions is focused on direct-to-merchant payment services, alongside acquirer processing activities for Financial Institutions. Revenues are predominantly generated in the UAE and Jordan, with the addition of DPO expanding direct-to-merchant presence across Africa.
Revenue for Merchant Solutions, which represents 50% of total revenue (H1 2021: 43%), grew 53.1% y/y to USD 101.8 million (H1 2021: USD 66.5 million).
Excluding DPO, TPV and revenue growth trends were particularly strong in Q1. Domestic TPV was supported by improving consumer confidence and general economic conditions, whilst International TPV was supported by high visitor numbers, Dubai EXPO and sporting events. KPIs remained comfortably ahead of pre-pandemic levels, with domestic TPV up 18% vs. H1 2019 and International TPV up 7% vs. H1 2019.
Revenue growth at DPO improved significantly through the period, where Q1 was impacted by the mix of strategic merchant and gateway volumes. Q2 saw an acceleration, supported by exceptionally strong growth outside of South Africa following a strong recovery from the pandemic, and the launch of new capabilities including automated merchant onboarding.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Network International.
Forward Looking Statements:
This announcement contains certain forward-looking statements with respect to the financial condition, results or operation and businesses of Network International Holdings Plc. Such statements and forecasts by their nature involve risks and uncertainty because they relate to future events and circumstances. There are a number of other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements, or industry results, to be materially different from those projected in the forward- looking statements.
These factors include general economic and business conditions; changes in technology; timing or delay in signing, commencement, implementation and performance of programmes, or the delivery of products or services under them; industry; relationships with customers; competition; and ability to attract personnel. You are cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this announcement. We undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect any change in our expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances.