• News 28 May 2024

Apis Growth Fund I Fully Exits Stake in ASEAN Service Provider GHL

London, 28th May, 2024 – Apis Growth Fund I (the “Fund”), a private equity fund managed by UK-based asset manager Apis Partners LLP (“Apis”), has announced a full exit of its investment in payments provider GHL. The Fund’s position is being acquired by Japan-based NTT DATA Japan, a leading global technology company, which will take a controlling stake in GHL following completion of the transaction.

Apis is a specialist growth investor focused on investing in opportunities at the dynamic intersection of finance and technology.  The Fund invested in GHL in 2018, with a strategic plan to enhance the company’s operational capabilities and expand its market reach. The successful exit from GHL underscores Apis’ commitment to its twin goals of generating value for its investors alongside creating positive societal impact.

GHL is ASEAN’s leading payment services provider, with core operations in Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand. The company covers physical, online and mobile payments, and manages more than 480,000 points of sale, enabling credit card, debit card, prepaid contactless payment, loyalty, prepaid top up as well as bill payment collection services. Apis is delighted that GHL’s growth and expansion plans will be further enhanced post-acquisition through the support of NTT DATA Japan.

Over the course of the Fund’s investment, Apis led multiple value creation efforts, strengthening GHL’s position in the market. Using their sector-specific expertise, Apis’ team helped drive efficiencies at eGHL, particularly with the COVID-induced shift towards online payments, in addition to expanding the overall GHL product offering to encompass SME lending and buy now, pay later (BNPL). Furthermore, Apis’ extensive network was instrumental in identifying and hiring new senior management. Apis’ focus on ESG and Impact initiatives was key in advising on the development of GHL’s Sustainability Framework, which was successfully launched in 2021 to promote sustainability values across all business practices.

Matteo Stefanel, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Apis, commented: “Today we announce our full disposal of the Fund’s investment in GHL and the Fund’s eighth exit. We have enjoyed a productive partnership with GHL over the years, and believe that the company’s new chapter with NTT DATA Japan will be equally prosperous. Through strategic guidance, operational expertise, and investment support, we have nurtured GHL’s growth, and look forward to the company continuing to flourish under its new ownership.”

Udayan Goyal, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Apis Partners, added: “The exit from GHL marks another significant achievement for Apis and highlights our commitment to delivering value for our investors in parallel with positive impact for our portfolio companies and their clients. We are confident that GHL will continue to provide world-class payment solutions and continue driving the expansion of digital payments infrastructure across South East Asia. We look forward to following their future development with interest.”

Financial and Legal advisors to the deal were CLSA Ltd and Zaid Ibrahim & Co, respectively.

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About Apis Partners

The Apis Group (“Apis”) is an ESGI-native global private equity and venture capital asset manager that supports growth-stage financial services and financial infrastructure businesses by providing them with catalytic growth equity capital. Collectively Apis, through its team of around 40 professionals with deep industry expertise, manages or advises on total committed capital from investors (including drawn and invested capital) of c.US$2 billion.

Including its headquarters in London, Apis has representation in eight countries across Europe, Asia, and Africa. Apis is highly conscious of the developmental impact that the provision of growth capital for financial services and financial infrastructure businesses in global markets can achieve, and as such, financial inclusion and financial wellness are core tenets of Apis’ impact investment approach.