Financial Market Authority approves Net1 shareholding in Spektral Bank

The Liechtenstein Financial Market Authority (FMA) has completed the qualifying holdings procedure in respect of the shareholding of Net1 UEPS Technologies, Inc. (Net1), in Spektral Bank & Co. AG. The FMA has issued its approval for the transaction which was announced in January 2017. Net1 has now acquired a 30 per cent stake in Spektral Bank. The acquisition of this stake represents a strengthening of the successful current partnership between Spektral Bank and Net1, as well as an expansion of the Bank’s business activities.

The Kuno Frick Family Foundation (KFS) has wholly controlled the Liechtenstein-based Spektral Bank until now. Following the FMA’s approval the Net1 Group has now acquired 30 per cent of the voting rights from KFS.

Net1 and KFS agreed the contractual basis for Net1’s holding in Spektral Bank in January 2017. The FMA was only able to begin the qualifying holdings procedure in summer 2017. The reasons for this did not arise in Liechtenstein.

Developing new business models together

Net1 is a leading provider of transaction-processing solutions, mobile payment solutions and online transaction services. The company is listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York, USA.

“We are looking forward to working with our new and dedicated co-owner on driving forward our fintech strategy, developing new digital business models and entering new markets,” says Mario Frick, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Spektral Bank. “The close connection to Net1 offers a further boost to our growth strategy.”

“We are extremely pleased to have concluded our investment in Spektral Bank, and to now be able to accelerate our long-term strategic partnership,” Herman Kotzé states, Chief Executive Officer of Net1. “We look forward to having Spektral Bank actively support and engage with us in the deployment of products and technology across geographies, including developing ventures that do not require expensive infrastructure to provide financial inclusion to individuals and small businesses – this in turn propelling the bank to the forefront of digital and mobile banking solutions,” he concluded.

New members of the Board of Directors

The General Meeting of Spektral Bank has elected Herman Kotzé to the Board of Directors. Michael Kramer, managing partner of Kramer Holding AG, has also been elected to the Board of Directors for the first time. Mr Kramer’s expertise lies in the implementation of innovation ideas in the areas of technology, payment transactions and banking.

Johann Fahrnberger, previously a member of the Board of Directors, has left the Bank’s supreme decision-making body following the election of the two new members. Chairman Mario Frick thanks Johann Fahrnberger on behalf of the Bank “for his many years of valuable service and the important impetus he has given to the development of our successful corporate strategy”. Mr Fahrnberger has been a member of Spektral Bank’s Board of Directors for nine years.

President Mario Frick, Vice-Chairman Roland Frick and Rolf Jermann will continue to serve as members of the Board of Directors.

Close cooperation since 2016

Since 2016 Spektral Bank is a strategic bank partner of Net1 and works closely with its subsidiary Masterpayment AG. Masterpayment AG operates throughout Europe in the online payment solutions and working capital financing areas.
The contract between the previous sole owner of the bank and Net1 contains provisions granting Net1 an option for two years to acquire an additional 35 per cent of Spektral Bank shares.

The contracting partners have also agreed that until the end of 2023, irrespective of the majority position, the Chairman of the Board of Directors will be nominated from the “Liechtenstein side” (KFS).

All 78 current jobs will continue to be required. Employee numbers have continued to grow at Spektral Bank since January 2017. Chairman of the Board of Directors Mario Frick believes that more employees will be needed to meet the needs of the joint projects with Net1.

Herman Kotzé, member of the Board of Directors of Spektral Bank

Herman Kotzé, newly elected member of the Board of Directors of Spektral Bank, CEO Net1.

Press photo Herman Kotzé

Michael Kramer, member of the Board of Directors of Spektral Bank

Michael Kramer, newly elected member of the Board of Directors of Spektral Bank.

Press photo Michael Kramer

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About Spektral Bank

Spektral Bank is a family-run Liechtenstein bank with headquarters in Balzers. It was founded in 1998 by Kuno Frick Sr (1938 – 2017), with a 70per cent majority held by the Liechtenstein-based Kuno Frick Family Foundation. Minority shareholder Net 1 UEPS Technologies, Inc. (Net1) holds 30 per cent of Spektral Bank’s share capital. Net1 is listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York.

Spektral Bank focuses on private clients, business clients and fund clients, who are supported by specialised departments.

Spektral Bank is the only bank in Liechtenstein with acquiring licences from Visa and MasterCard.

For qualified market players Spektral Bank develops tailor-made funds and acts as a custodian bank.

In the first half of 2017, the Bank with its roughly 78 employees generated a profit of CHF 2.7 million and managed assets in the amount of CHF 2.9 billion. As at the end of June 2017, the balance sheet total was CHF 990 million. The capital base stood at CHF 85 million.

Spektral Bank operates a branch in London.

About Net1

Net1 is a leading provider of alternative payment systems that leverage its Universal Electronic Payment System (“UEPS”) or utilise its proprietary mobile technologies. The Company operates market leading payment processors in South Africa and the Republic of Korea. Through Transact24, Net1 offers debit, credit and prepaid processing and issuing services for Visa, MasterCard and ChinaUnionPay in China and other territories across Asia Pacific, Europe and Africa, and the United States. Through Masterpayment, Net1 provides payment processing and enables working capital financing in Europe.

UEPS permits the Company to facilitate biometrically secure, real time electronic transaction processing to unbanked and under-banked populations of developing economies around the world in an online or offline environment. Net1’s UEPS/EMV solution is interoperable with global EMV standards (EMV = Europay, MasterCard, Visa) that seamlessly enable access to all the UEPS functionality in a traditional EMV environment. In addition to payments, UEPS can be used for banking, healthcare management, payroll, remittances, voting and identification.

Net1’s mobile technologies include its proprietary mobile payments solution, MVC, which offers secure mobile based payments, as well as mobile banking and prepaid value-added services in developed and emerging countries.
Net1 has a primary listing on the Nasdaq and a secondary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.