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Net1 buys into Nigerian finance firm

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Net 1 UEPS Technologies has acquired a 25% interest in One Credit, a leading Nigerian consumer finance company focused on providing credit to unbanked, salaried Nigerian consumers.

The company has also agreed to provide One Credit with a credit facility of up to $10-million in the form of convertible equity-linked loan notes.

One Credit was established three years ago to meet the needs of the average Nigerian salaried worker who has limited, if any, access to formal credit. The company has experienced tremendous demand for its consumer finance product offering and has become one of the leading consumer lenders in the highly fragmented Nigerian market.

The Nigerian consumer finance market has experienced 35% compounded annual growth from 2005 to 2012 and still remains relatively under-penetrated with over 90% of Nigerians never having applied for a loan.

According to a recent McKinsey report, the Nigerian consumer finance market is expected to grow in line with the consumer market and is estimated to reach $1,4-trillion by 2030 from $400-billion in 2014.

Net1 believes that it can assist One Credit to grow its market share through the provision of its financial technology products and services, which have been designed to address the biggest challenge facing Nigerian financial institutions – the ability to provide seamless and cashless services in an environment that poses significant logistical and infrastructural obstacles.

In addition, Net1’s solutions will enhance One Credit’s credit risk management and expand the current product offering to these customers.

By acquiring a significant minority stake, the company will be able to actively participate in the formulation and execution of the One Credit business plan, including its delivery platforms.

“We are very excited to enter Africa’s largest economy and most populous country with One Credit as our partner,” says Dr Serge Belamant, chairman and CEO of Net1. “The Nigerian consumer finance market, which is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, presents a unique opportunity to showcase the adaptability, scalability and robustness of our technologies.

“Our mobile virtual card and variable PIN products are particularly well suited to One Credit’s requirements and we look forward to the successful deployment of our solutions by an experienced management team that has an in-depth understanding of the Nigerian market,” he adds.

“We are delighted to welcome Net1 as an investor and financial technology provider,” says Chijioke Dozie, co-founder and CEO of One Credit. “The business opportunities in the Nigerian consumer finance market are immense as less than 10% of Nigerians have ever been able to apply for a loan due to the lack of financial inclusion.

“Net1’s expertise, technology and investment will enable us to rapidly grow our market share in this underserved and dynamic market.”