Interswitch Nigeria Sees Delayed IPO Concluded by End-2019

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LAGOS, SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 – Interswitch Ltd., a Nigeria-based payments-processing company, expects to complete its delayed dual listing in London and Lagos before the end of 2019.

The initial public offering to raise as much as $1 billion had been scheduled for 2016 and was delayed because equity markets were not as “favorable as we would have liked,” Interswitch’s divisional chief executive officer for switching and processing, Akeem Lawal, said in an interview.

“We will come back to it because it is an important part of our strategy,” Lawal said on the sidelines of a conference in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital. “It will happen before the end of 2019.”

Lawal was in Nairobi to promote Interswitch’s use of quick-response, or QR, codes to drive merchant payments using mobile phones. While MasterCard Inc. and Visa Inc. already have similar methods, the two companies have agreed to make them interoperable with others and negotiations are under way to add more systems including Safaricom Ltd.’s M-Pesa service.

More than 8,000 merchants have been added in Nigeria and Kenya since Interswitch introduced the system in July, and the company is targeting 80,000 in 12 months. Customers use their phone cameras to scan a merchant’s unique QR code displayed on the screen of the card reader to make payments at the till.

In Nigeria and Kenya 255,700 transactions have been made in the two months its been in operation. Ghana and Tanzania will be added within two months, and the company aims to have the system operational in 12 nations by February, Lawal said. Barclays Bank of Kenya Ltd., First Bank of Nigeria Ltd., Diamond Bank Plc and Fidelity Bank Plc are using the platform and three other lenders are in the process of being signed on, he said.

“QR has a unique advantage which has been demonstrated in China and India, because it is convenient, it is easier to use and the cost of deployment is low,” Lawal said.

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