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Apis Partners announces investment in GHL Systems Berhad


Apis Partners announces investment in GHL Systems Berhad 

  • Apis Growth Fund I, the private equity fund managed by Apis Partners LLP (“Apis”), has completed its investment in GHL Systems Berhad, the leading payment service provider in the ASEAN region with key operations across Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand
  • The investment will leverage Apis’ financial services expertise to support GHL in consolidating its position as the leading ASEAN payments platform
  • Apis will join Executive Vice Chairman Simon Loh and Actis, an emerging markets private equity firm, as a strong minority shareholder with the aim of working with the Company to introduce a broader suite of merchant-focused solutions into the South East Asian market

London, UK – 31st May 2018: Apis announces a significant minority investment by Apis Growth Fund I (the “Fund”) into GHL Systems Berhad (“GHL”, the “Company”), the leading payment service provider in the ASEAN region with key operations across Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand.

GHL provides integrated, end-to-end payment services and solutions encompassing physical, internet and mobile payments. The Company is among the top merchant acquirers in the region. Other than serving the traditional banking and financial sector, the Company also serves major telecommunications companies, retailers and airlines in the ASEAN region. GHL manages more than 180,000 acceptance points that enable credit card, debit card, prepaid contactless payment, loyalty, prepaid top up and bill payment collection services.

The digital payments sector in the ASEAN region is witnessing strong growth driven by a favourable regulatory environment, the adoption of cards and e-wallets, and a strong macro-environment. The digitalisation of money is enhancing financial inclusion, enabling secure and reliable transactions, improving the overall efficiency of the payment system and providing cost savings and efficiencies to the entire economy. As the leading payment service provider and largest independent merchant acquirer in the ASEAN region, GHL is well positioned to play a key role in growing and developing the sector and to benefit from the increasing electronification of payments.

The Fund’s investment in GHL will be used to drive the growth of the Company across the ASEAN region, and will be made by way of subscription to 65 million newly issued securities at a price of RM1.30, representing a total consideration of approximately USD21.2 million. The investment is subject to customary regulatory filings. Apis adds to a shareholder base of experienced investors including Actis and Simon Loh.

Commenting on the investment, Simon Loh, Executive Vice Chairman of GHL said “I am very glad to welcome Apis to ASEAN as a partner to GHL. Their entrance as a shareholder further underpins the tremendous growth potential of GHL and ASEAN. We look forward to the exciting exchange of ideas going forward.”

Matteo Stefanel, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Apis noted, “We are delighted to partner with GHL on the exciting journey ahead. We see tremendous opportunity in the ASEAN payments sector, and as the leading payment acceptance platform in the region, we believe GHL is strongly positioned to benefit from this growth. The investment in GHL is supported by positive secular industry trends, such as strong growth in the issued card base, regulatory and consumer adoption of electronic payments, and a broadening of the product suite provided to merchants through point of sale terminals. These factors are set against the backdrop of highly attractive macro-fundamentals with real GDP growth of over 5% p.a. across the region.”

GHL’s group CEO Danny Leong further added, “I see Apis bringing a wealth of relevant expertise and experience in emerging market dynamics and in particular, their focus on the payment space and financial services. Together, with our other major shareholder Actis, we look forward to cementing GHL as THE ASEAN payment service provider. We are very excited to work closely with both our strategic shareholders to bring GHL to the next level.”

Udayan Goyal, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Apis commented: “We were very impressed with the depth and technical knowledge of the GHL management team. They have built a leading platform that is uniquely qualified to take advantage of the increased adoption and penetration of digital payments across the ASEAN region. We look forward to partnering with Simon, Danny and the rest of GHL’s talented team as the company enters new and exciting stages in its growth path.”

About GHL Systems Berhad 

GHL Systems Berhad is ASEAN’s leading payment service provider with key operations in Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Australia. GHL provides world-class payment services and solutions encompassing physical, Internet and mobile payments on a sale, rental or transactional basis and is one of the top merchant acquirers in the region.

GHL manages more than 180,000 point of sales in ASEAN that enables credit card, debit card, prepaid contactless payment, loyalty, prepaid top up as well as bill payment collection services. As part of GHL’s “Beyond ASEAN” strategy, it has also successfully established a client base in more than 20 countries. GHL has been listed on Bursa Malaysia since 2003. The group’s market capitalization as at 31 May 2018 was approximately USD235 million.

About Apis Partners LLP 

Apis Partners LLP (www.apis.pe) is a private equity asset manager that supports growth stage financial services and financial infrastructure businesses in Africa and Asia by providing them with catalytic growth equity capital. Apis Partners LLP’s team is comprised of 22 professionals with specialised expertise in financial services and technology in growth markets.

Apis Partners LLP is highly conscious of the developmental impact that the provision of growth capital for financial services in growth markets can achieve, and as such, financial inclusion is a core tenet of Apis Partners LLP’s approach and investment mandate.

Apis Partners LLP is authorised and regulated by the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (auth. n. 628289). Apis Partners LLP is the manager of Apis Growth Fund I, L.P., Apis Growth I (B), L.P. and Apis Growth I Africa, L.P., collectively, Apis Growth Fund I or the “Fund”. As a foreign private adviser, Apis Partners LLP is exempt from registration under the US Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

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