The owners of Spektral Bank & Co. AG, the Liechtenstein bank, have sold a 30 per cent share to the Nasdaq-listed NET1 UEPS Technologies, Inc. (Net1). The new investor, Net1, is a leading provider of transaction processing solutions, mobile payment solutions and online transaction services. This stake acquisition represents a strengthening of the successful current partnership between Spektral Bank and Net1, as well as an expansion of the Bank’s business activities.
Balzers (LI) ‒ The Kuno Frick Family Foundation (KFS) has wholly controlled the Liechtenstein-based Spektral Bank until now. Once the agreed transaction has been completed, 30 per cent of the voting shares in Spektral Bank will be transferred to the Net1 Group, which is listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York, USA.
Net1’s acquisition of a stake in Spektral Bank is yet to be approved by the Liechtenstein Financial Market Authority. No information has been provided regarding the acquisition price.
Close cooperation is already in place between the parties
“In the strategy agreed by the Board of Directors in 2015, we made it our target to find a strong partner within the next five years,” says Mario Frick, Chairman of the Bank’s Board of Directors, and also member of the KFS Foundation Board.
Net1 and Spektral Bank already work closely together. Spektral Bank is a strategic partner of Net1 and its subsidiary Masterpayment, a provider of e-commerce payment solutions active throughout Europe. Net1 and Masterpayment have signed an extensive payments-related cooperation agreement with Spektral Bank for 2017.
Drive the fintech strategy and exploit scale effects
“Net1 possesses enormous digital know-how. With the expansion of Net1’s involvement, we will be able to strengthen our current business areas, drive forward our fintech strategy, develop new digital business models and enter new markets,” says Mario Frick, Chairman of the Board of Directors, “and thanks to the scale effects this will bring, we can face the increasingly complex regulatory environment more effectively.”
Net1: “A long-term and strategic relationship”
“The investment in Spektral Bank cements a critical element for our international payment activities, especially in Europe”, said Serge Belamant, Chariman and CEO of Net1. “Our issuing, acquiring, working capital finance and money remittance products and services are completely reliant on having a stable, long-term and strategic relationship with a fully licensed bank and there is no better way to ensure alignment and longevity than by becoming a meaningful stakeholder in the bank.”
Chairman member of the Frick family until 2023
Following the successful completion of this investment, Net1 will have a two-year option to acquire a further 35% in Spektral Bank.
The contracting partners have also agreed that, irrespective of the majority position, the “Liechtenstein side” (KFS) will provide the Chairman of the Board of Directors until 2023.
Employee numbers will continue to increase
All 70 current jobs will continue to be required. Chairman of the Board Mario Frick expects that, given the joint plans with Net1, employee numbers will continue to increase.
Other investors contacted Spektral Bank in the second half of 2016 “who were interested in acquiring a stake in a financially sound institution” Frick continues. “We held intensive discussions with all the interested parties but in the end decided to choose Net1, for the reasons already given.”
About Spektral Bank
Spektral Bank is a family-run Liechtenstein bank with headquarters in Balzers. It was founded in 1998 by Kuno Frick Sr. It is fully owned by the Kuno Frick Family Foundation.
Spektral Bank’s strategic pillars are formed by private banking, payment services, real estate and opportunities. Spektral Bank is the only bank in Liechtenstein with acquiring licences from Visa and MasterCard. Spektral Bank develops tailor-made funds for qualified market players and acts as a custodian bank. The bank employs around 70 members of staff.
Spektral Bank operates a branch in London.
Net1 is a leading provider of alternative payment systems that leverage its Universal Electronic Payment System (“UEPS”) or utilize 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.
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