African Rainbow Capital (ARC), the financial-services firm started by billionaire Patrice Motsepe, is close to getting the banking licence it needs to challenge the dominance of South Africa’s biggest lenders, reports Bloomberg.
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has reportedly said it will sell 10% of Tyme, a Johannesburg-based lender that allows customers to access funds through their mobile phones, to ARC after buying the business in 2015.
Bloomberg reports that Tyme was granted a provisional licence by the Reserve Bank last year.
Johan van der Merwe, co-CEO of ARC, said in an interview with Bloomberg that the licence is expected before the end of September. “The regulator is looking at the cloud-based system that ARC’s fintech partner is using to make sure it works before granting the full licence,” he was quoted as saying.
South Africa’s four biggest banks, including Standard Bank Group and FirstRand, haven’t had to face competition in the consumer market since Capitec Bank was established more than 15 years ago. “The South African banking environment is due for a bit of disruption. While Capitec has been able to play that role, the soon-to-be-licensed lender will be a disruption over and above that,” Van der Merwe said.
ARC plans to raise R4 billion ($ 300 million) by selling shares in its investment unit to selected investors. The sale will then be followed by a listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange next month that will give ARC Investments a market value of about R8,5 billion. The unit will have R2 billion in cash for future purchases,” Van der Merwe said.
Earlier this month, ARC reportedly acquired a 20% stake in Rain, a fixed and mobile data network operator. Rain reportedly aims to build the next-generation LTE-Advanced network in South Africa and has rolled out over 1 000 sites and 1 500 base stations over the past five years. It is on track to meet its target of 2 000 sites by the end of the year and 5 000 within three years.