Rival Airtel Group already secured investment from Mastercard and TPG Holdings LP to the tune of $300 million
Safaricom leads as continent’s largest mobile money operator
Telecommunications giant, MTN Group Ltd is currently eyeing an Initial Public Offer for its mobile money arm which it currently values at about $5 billion as reported by Financial Times. The mobile money service is currently one of Africa’s most popular service at the moment.
This is coming on the heels of the investment of $300 million in Airtel Africa Plc’s mobile-money business by Mastercard and TPG Holdings LP now valued at $2.65 billion. Recall that we had earlier reported this move here and here .
“With similar valuations to that of Airtel, our valuation would sit at 75 billion rand, or about $5 billion,” says MTN Chief Executive Officer Ralph Mupita. “No decision has been made as yet, but listing will be an option considered if that will be the best approach to unlock value.”
The South Africa head-quartered company had previously indicated that it is looking at spinning off its entire fintech business and this includes its mobile money service which has been valued by Nedbank Group Ltd. at 87 billion rand, an equivalent of $46 billion according to a March 26 notice.
The mobile money service which is a process where customers store and manage the transfer or receipt of cash using a mobile phone connected to a bank account has seen tremendous adoption across sub-Saharan Africa and contributes a huge part of revenue for wireless-network companies operating across Africa, with MTN, Airtel Group and Safaricom leading the pack.
The reason for the adoption of mobile money within sub-Saharan Africa is not far-fetched seeing that the region struggles with banking infrastructure with internet connectivity and penetration which is a major enabler of virtual banking still at a low ebb.
Data according to GSMA shows that mobile money adoption stands at 548 million as at the end of 2020, being 54% of all customers.
Safaricom, based in Nairobi, retains its position as the regions largest mobile-money provider through its M-Pesa service. Potential exists for further growth, with the two most-populous countries, Nigeria and Ethiopia, yet to roll out of the service.