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Waha Capital, a leading investment company based in Abu Dhabi, has acquired a significant minority stake in Dubai-based Channel VAS, a rapidly growing financial technology company. Waha Capital’s new investment is approximately USD 55 million.
Channel VAS is a strong force in the fintech world, operating in over 25 emerging markets and providing micro finance lending solutions to over 500 million mobile network subscribers, who often do not have access to other financial services.
The acquisition adds to the diversification of Waha Capital’s principal investment portfolio, which holds stakes in several companies, including New York-listed aircraft leasing firm AerCap Holdings NV and UAE-based oil and gas services firm, National Petroleum Services. “Through this acquisition, we are enhancing our portfolio by tapping into a high-potential industry and an innovative company backed by a best-in-class management team that already has an impressive track record, and is implementing a solid strategy for expansion.” said Salem Al Noaimi, CEO and Managing Director of Waha Capital.
On his part, Bassim Haidar, founder and CEO of Channel VAS said, "It is a great pleasure to welcome Waha Capital, a premium investment company, among our stakeholders. This strategic investment creates a win-win situation, as both parties are leaders in their respective fields.” Haidar added, “This partnership will further cement Channel VAS' leading position on the FinTech front and will support us in providing even more innovative services and financial solutions to hundreds of million people all over the world, most of which are without easy reach of traditional financial services."
Channel VAS provides airtime credit services, mobile value added services, micro cash loans, handset loans, and credit services for pre-paid utilities, to subscribers of mobile telecommunications network providers in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe. At the heart of its services is a cutting-edge proprietary credit scoring platform that relies on several data points to analyse financial behaviour, thus employing a unique cost-effective manner to provide micro-loans as low as USD 10 to 20 cents.
The advanced big-data analytics capabilities that Channel VAS has developed, enables it to capture opportunities in the world’s fastest growing mobile financial services markets with an increasing number of mobile finance applications, each one delivering a common theme of convenience amongst users.
Channel VAS’s next phase of growth will involve the expansion of its range of services as well as an extension of its geographical reach through further partnerships with telecommunication operators and financial institutions. The company has doubled the number of markets in which it operates over the past 18 months, and is offering accessible financing solutions to fast growing youthful populations that are underserved by the traditional banking sector.
Waha Capital’s Principal Investments division manages over AED 5 billion of assets. It sits alongside the company’s Asset Management division, which manages funds that invest in public equities and fixed income markets, as well as in private equity and private debt.
Waha Capital said first-quarter profit rose 23 per cent on strong performance of the company’s asset management division and a gain on disposal of shares in US-listed aircraft lessor AerCap Holdings.
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