EMPH acquires Visa Jordan for $87m
Amman, August 17, 2011
Emerging Markets Payments Holdings (EMPH) has acquired Visa Jordan Card Services, Jordan’s premier payment card processor and acquirer, for $87 million.
Visa Jordan, previously owned by Visa and 10 local banks, dominates Jordan’s debit and credit card acquiring and processing markets, said a statement.
It is the exclusive Visa merchant acquirer that owns and operates Jonet, effectively the national ATM switch. Its leading position means it owns 80 per cent of the point-of-sale terminals in Jordan and processes all Visa point-of-sale transactions, as well as all inter-bank ATM transactions, it said.
The acquisition is the latest investment for Actis-backed EMPH, which aims to be the leading payments business in the Middle East and Africa.
EMPH invested in Africa’s Mediterranean Smart Cards Company (MSCC) in July 2010. Since then MSCC has extended its operations to 32 countries and serves over 85 banks and offers a full range of card schemes, including Visa, MasterCard, Amex, Diners International and the Chinese scheme, CUP. Its business model provides outsourced card issuing and acquiring services for banks, many of whom lack the skills necessary to manage a world-class card operation, or who choose to outsource card management in order to focus on core banking priorities, said the statement.
EMPH chairman Paul Edwards said: “EMPH’s acquisition Visa Jordan reflects its confidence in the growth potential of Jordan’s payment card market. Jordan is one of the largest card markets in the Middle East and in Africa (where only South Africa and Egypt are larger),” said Edwards.
“While the country has built an excellent electronic payments infrastructure, and the vast majority of Jordanians have a debit or credit card, many are underused as consumers continue to use cash for most of their transactions. This means there is great scope for growth.”
Hani Al-Qadi, former chairman of Visa Jordan and CEO of Arab Jordan Investment Bank, stated that the sale of such a key part of the electronic national payments system to EMPH was a vote of confidence in EMPH and its backer, Actis. –TradeArabia News Service
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