Daily Maverick

African Rainbow Capital eyes a bigger slice of fintech pie

- By Mfuneko Toyana

Billionair­e Patrice Motsepe’s African Rainbow Capital (ARC) wants a bigger share of the growing telecoms and fintech pie, and is slimming down and changing tack four years after its listing on the JSE.

ARC published its full-year financial results this week, reporting a 16.3% increase in its intrinsic portfolio value to R12.28-billion. Net fair value gains accounted for R909-million of the increase and net investment­s for the remaining R810-million increase.

However, ARC’s intrinsic net asset value (INAV) per share, a standard valuation measure calculated by subtractin­g liabilitie­s from assets and dividing by outstandin­g shares, decreased from R9.54 a share to R8.77 a share.

The company put this down to October’s R750-million rights issue, which it executed at a 10% discount to the then share price.

ARC’s share price on the JSE sits at R3.70, down more than 12% year-to-date. The gap between its net asset value and the share price has riled some investors, but the steady growth of its investment­s will likely douse some of those sentiments.

Rain, ARC’s data network operator, and the app-based TymeBank are the company’s linchpins in the online space that has grown more lucrative and competitiv­e during Covid-19 as working, shopping, learning and banking from home have become a necessary norm.

Dr Johan van Zyl, ARC’s co-chief executive, told Business Maverick this week that the firm wanted as much fintech exposure as it could get.

“We have a number of fintech businesses in our current portfolio. These would include businesses like PayProp [an automated transactio­nal platform for real estate agents] and Humanstate

[an internatio­nal private technology services group]. Going forward, we see significan­t opportunit­ies to have much exposure to fintech businesses as part of our financial services portfolio and, in particular, our banking offering,” he said.

TymeBank has registered 3.45 million customers since its launch in 2019. Its deal with the Zionist Christian Church (ZCC) last year to sign up a large proportion of the church’s nine million member base will likely add to that number, although Covid-19 has proved to be a hurdle.

Rain exceeded its subscriber targets in both the 4G and 5G segments. It has added more than three million customers since launching in 2019, putting it in a good position to expand beyond Johannesbu­rg, Pretoria and Cape Town.

“The company is in a strong growth phase and it seeks to have a presence in all major metropolit­an areas in SA,” Van Zyl said.

Key to the growth will be the long-delayed spectrum auction by telecoms regulator Icasa, which, if executed, will give local internet providers the spectrum space needed to expand 5G services.

ARC, which holds around 28% of Rain, said its share in the value of the investment in Rain increased to R3.31-billion as a result of R56-million additional investment and a fair value gain of R147-million over the year.

ARC has decided to divest from telecoms service provider Metrofibre, which it invested in four years ago. The investment is worth around R200-million, but it has had weak returns and probably does not fit into ARC’s fintech push.

“We do not think of Metrofibre as a fintech business. It is an internet fibre business that is now more mature and much more like an infrastruc­ture play. It would require more capital but is likely to deliver a return lower than our internal hurdle rate requiremen­ts,” said Van Zyl.

 ??  ?? Patrice Motsepe, the founder and majority owner of African Rainbow Capital, has set his sights on getting more exposure to fintech. Photo: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS
Patrice Motsepe, the founder and majority owner of African Rainbow Capital, has set his sights on getting more exposure to fintech. Photo: Elmond Jiyane/GCIS
 ??  ?? Dr Johan van Zyl
Dr Johan van Zyl

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