Network International Holdings Plc has announced its interim financial results for the half year ended 30 June 2023.
The company reports good H1 2023 results with total revenue growing 19% in constant currency year-on-year (y.o.y.) demonstrating broad-based growth across all regions and business lines, with the total value of consumer payments processed with merchants across the group, including African markets, growing 33% in constant currency y.o.y. In the Middle East, the value of merchant payments processed from domestic consumers and international visitors grew significantly, increasing 28% and 53% year on year respectively.
Profit for the period was USD 34 million, up 9% y.o.y. Underlying free cash flow was USD 65 million, up 63% y.o.y.; and cash flow from operating activities was USD 107 million, supported by strong underlying business performance. Revenue in Africa represented 28% of the Group’s total revenue across the Middle East and Africa during this period.
Network saw another good trading period, delivering 19% constant currency revenue growth in the first half of the year. Our performance continues to be supported by the acceleration of digital payments growth across key markets but is also evidence of our successful strategic execution, competitive services and product offering. Performance in our home market of the UAE has been particularly good, where we have seen consistent market share gains in direct-to-merchant services through 2022 and into 2023, supported by our continued focus on high growth strategic areas such as SME, online and hospitality. We have made good progress in new market opportunities, having secured another three new financial institutions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and signed over 700 merchants since our direct-to-merchant service was launched in Egypt earlier this year. Whilst overall Africa performance was slower on the back of tough macro-economic conditions, we have recently deployed on-soil technology capabilities in South Africa, positioning Network to better serve customers locally and providing excellent foundations for future growth. We remain encouraged by performance across the Group and I thank our colleagues for their expertise and delivery of such good results.Nandan Mer, Chief Executive Officer, Network International
New business remained healthy, especially among financial institutions. Network secured eight new customers across acquirer and issuer processing including Vodacom Financial Services, one of Africa’s most renowned Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) to provide merchant acquirer processing services in South Africa. In addition, it renewed its contract with Polaris Bank, one of Nigeria’s leading retail banks, for another five years. Network also continued to attract a significant number of key account and SME merchants and became the payments partner of choice for the Namibian government, enabling digital payments for e-visas and passport applications.
Capabilities grew with a widening range of payment acceptance methods and Value Added Services. Enhancing its mobile money capabilities in Africa through its partnership with Ecocash, a MNO in Zimbabwe, African merchants can now accept more mobile money payments. New services for financial institutions and credential issuing customers included expanding its N-GeniusTM online platform’s regional footprint. Rolling out the white label online payment solutions to a further four financial institutions for online acquirer processing services, the platform is now live across 26 African countries. The launch of SmartView Merchant reports further expands its insights and analytics proposition in Africa, providing merchants with in-depth actionable information on their business, including sales and transaction performance, dynamic currency conversion and loyalty analysis.
New market opportunities have been unlocked for outsourced payment services. Network deployed its on-soil technology in South Africa, unlocking revenue opportunities and enhancing its competitive positioning by aligning with new regulatory legislations to better serve customers in the region. Its Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) score in South Africa has also improved significantly from level 8 in December 2022 to Level 5 in June 2023, having committed to supporting and enhancing its local workforce.
Network successfully launched direct-to-merchant services in Egypt at the start of the year and has already secured over 700 merchants, including Tradeline, who are Apple’s authorised resellers. The entry into direct-to-merchant services in Egypt builds on Network’s already well-established presence as a processing services provider in the country.