Network International's revenue decline narrows in Q3 as trading momentum picks up

The company is on track to acquire African payments firm DPO Group

Payments processor Network International narrowed its revenue decline to 17 per cent during the third quarter of this year on the back of improved trading performance as pandemic-related restrictions eased.

The company, which reported a 23 per cent slide in second quarter revenue this year, said in a trading update that the card and transaction volumes continued to recover in the Middle East.

“We are very pleased to see the continuation of more positive trading momentum through the third quarter, which reflects the easing of Covid-19 restrictions across our regions and improving consumer spending,” Simon Haslam, chief executive of Network International, said.

“This has been supported by the transition from cash to digital payments, where recent indicators point to an acceleration in this trend, which will benefit the size of the digital payments market and long-term growth potential.”

Network International raised $1.4 billion through its listing on the London Stock Exchange last year. Following that, Mastercard took a 10 per cent stake in the firm and subsequently pledged to invest a further $35m in the business over the next five years.

The payment processor is also on track to acquire the African payments firm DPO Group.

“DPO will further consolidate our presence in Africa, strengthen our position across the entire payments value chain and accelerate our growth,” the company, said.

DPO is the largest online commerce platform in Africa, which offers online and mobile money payments services to over 47,000 merchants. Network International announced plans to acquire the firm in July.

The company is planning to enter the Saudi Arabian market, where digital payments currently only account for 9 per cent of transactions. The kingdom is aiming to increase this ratio to 70 per cent under its Vision 2030 strategy, Network International said earlier this year.

Network International's balance sheet and liquidity at the end of the third-quarter remained strong with $190 million in undrawn lending facilities and a cash balance of $110m, according to a statement from the company on Monday.

The London-listed firm said the revenue growth for the financial year of 2020 will be in line with the market.

"We expect to deliver revenue growth of (17) per cent year-on-year, at the top end of our guidance range. With improved trading momentum, we have seen a pick-up in some revenue streams that are initially at a lower margin, but drive revenue delivery over the medium term. We therefore expect underlying net income in line with current market expectations."