The FINANCIAL — TBC Bank Group PLC (“TBC Bank” or “the Bank”) announces that it has entered into an agreement to acquire a 51% stake in LLC Inspired, a leading payment platform in Uzbekistan trading under the Payme brand (“Payme”).
Payme is a leading payment service provider in Uzbekistan that supplies high-quality payment solutions to its 1.3 million customers. It facilitates utility payments, P2P transfers, loan repayments, mPOS for QR-based payments and ecommerce purchases. It also provides a marketplace platform for loans from certain Uzbek banks. Payme has grown rapidly in recent years, increasing its number of clients by around 70% during 2018, while its revenue and net income grew by 41.9% and 24.5% respectively year-on-year.
The transaction is in line with TBC Bank’s international strategy to expand its regional operations and marks an important milestone in building the Bank’s capacity in the highly promising Uzbekistani market. Uzbekistan is a very attractive market with a population of 32 million that is growing at around 2.0% per year, while total retail loans to GDP ratio stood at 7.2% at the end of 2018.
The Bank’s strategy is to develop a greenfield, next generation banking ecosystem for retail and MSME customers in Uzbekistan. The primary focus will be on digital channels, including a fully-digital bank, Space.
Vakhtang Butskhrikidze, Chief Executive Officer of TBC Bank, commented: “The acquisition of Payme is another important step in our planned expansion into Uzbekistan. It will enable us to gain immediate access to a large customer base in the country and use our core digital strengths in Georgia to innovate in the Uzbekistani market. With Payme joining our effort, we intend to further develop the payment business and also use it as a platform to develop new ecosystems in the country. I am excited about the partnership with Payme’s highly successful management team and I look forward to working closely together with the team in devising and executing the Bank’s strategy in Uzbekistan for the benefit of our stakeholders. In addition, the acquisition is expected to increase the total number of users that the TBC Group and its subsidiaries are serving by more than 50% to 3.7 million.”
Ro’zmatov Sarvar Nasrullayevich, Managing Owner of Payme commented: “We are thrilled to partner with a leading bank in the region, with advanced digital capacities and a strong commitment to Uzbekistan. I am confident that together we will bring the company to the next level and offer our customers new, cutting-edge solutions and services in a very short period of time.”
Grant Thornton acted as exclusive financial adviser, Baker & McKenzie LLP as international legal adviser and Centil Law as a local legal adviser to TBC Bank in relation to this transaction.