Business spin-offs to further African expansion plans, Interswitch says

Business spin-offs to further African expansion plans, Interswitch says

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By TECHNOLOGY TIMES Staff

Lagos, June 17, 2013: The recent creation of Interswitch holding company and spin-off of two core divisions focused on regional and international growth are part of the Nigerian e-payment giant’s strategy to further its African expansion.

Mitchell Elegbe, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Interswitch Transnational Holdings says the rationale for separation is driven by the company's strategy to drive next stage of growth through empowering the various line businesses to broaden and deepen their solution and service offerings to better serve their customers across Africa
Mitchell Elegbe, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Interswitch Transnational Holdings says the rationale for separation is driven by the company’s strategy to drive next stage of growth through empowering the various line businesses to broaden and deepen their solution and service offerings to better serve their customers across Africa

The Nigerian e-payment company has evolved into Interswitch Transnational Holdings with a pan-African integrated payment processing and transaction switching focus. It also has announced the spin-off of two of its core divisions.

Under the plan, Verve International and Switching and Processing will henceforth function as separate, autonomous businesses, the Nigerian e-payment company said to underscore its focus on African growth.

Verve, the payment card solutions business of the company and Interswitch Switching and Processing, the transaction switching business, will now function as separate, autonomous businesses.

Mitchell Elegbe, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Interswitch Transnational Holdings says the rationale for separation is driven by the company’s strategy to orchestrate the next stage of sustainable growth through empowering the various line businesses to broaden and deepen their solution and service offerings to better serve their customers across Africa.

Interswitch reckons that the separation will enable Verve to leverage, to the maximum extent, its recent strategic alliance with the ‘Discover’ network, providing new business opportunities in over 185 countries around the world.

Elegbe adds that the spin-off will enable Interswitch Switching and Processing to take its card-agnostic pureplay switching services and third party transaction processing (Mastercard, Visa, Union Pay, Verve) capabilities across the region.

According to Elegbe, “It has always been our desire to evolve into an integrated payments holding business where the various parts of the business are driven to deepen and broaden their relationships with their various customers by creating innovative products and services of real value. Creating the right governance structure to herald this new phase of sustainable growth has been the focus of the board and management in the last few months. I am elated that we have successfully completed this separation, which took effect from April 1st 2013.”

Interswitch says its corporate structuring is also in compliance with regulatory guidelines of the Payment Systems Vision 2020 of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that Verve International and Interswitch Switching and Processing have separate management teams.

Verve International to be led by Charles Ifedi while Interswitch Switching and Processing will be led by Akeem Lawal.

Interswitch’s says the planned strategy to separate its core divisions, allowing each division focus on its core competencies and best facilitate regional and international expansion, with a clear mandate to provide the” best services at the lowest cost.”

The separation will result in no disruption to services enjoyed by the business’s clients; the two companies will further strengthen the existing teams by identifying and attracting key talents from across the continent that will focus on delivering the best services, the company says.

This separation is also in line with the CBN’s guidelines as contained the Payments System Vision 2020 and will ensure that Interswitch Group’s corporate structure is geared to CBN’s goals of developing effective payment systems in Nigeria.

Both businesses will have separate management teams and Boards in compliance with CBN’s regulations.

Transaction Switching and Processing which was the core switching and processing platform of Interswitch and has over a decade offered issuers, acquirers, card schemes and networks with array of services which include but are not limited to: transaction switching, payment processing, settlement reporting services.

It will continue to provide these services with a focus on multiple markets, while also enhancing customer experience with product innovation and extensions, at the least costs, Elegbe says.

Its switch is connected to all 20 banks in Nigeria including seven Microfinance institutions and 16 Mobile Money operators.

In addition, the switch processes local and international transactions originating from payment cards such as UnionPay of China, MasterCard, VISA and Discover Financial Services (Discover and Diners Club), the company adds.

On the other hand, Verve offers issuers, cardholders and organizations with payment card products and solutions in Nigeria and its pan-African chip + PIN payment card, is the first chip card accepted across all payment channels in Nigeria.

According to the company, Verve has over 20 million cards in circulation and access to over 119,631 points of sale (“POS”), 11,287 ATMs and over 1,000 online merchants. It has been developed with unique value added services available to cardholders in Nigeria, including loyalty and Reward Money at specific merchant locations.

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