Actis buys 44.4% stake in GHL

01.04.17 / Author: Ganeshwaran Kana

PETALING JAYA: Leading growth markets investor Actis has emerged as the new major shareholder of GHL System Bhd, following its acquisition of a 44.4% stake in the payment service provider.

The acquisition, which triggered a mandatory general offer for the rest of GHL shares not owned by Actis, saw the purchase of the stake from Cycas, a unit of the private equity firm Creador and GHL executive vice chairman Simon Loh.

Actis acquired the stakes at RM1 per share unit, notably at a 16% discount to GHL’s closing price of RM1.19 yesterday.

Creador which is owned by savvy investor Brahmal Vasudevan, will be exiting GHL as the firm sold its entire 28.3% stake to Actis. Simon will remain as a substantial shareholder retaining a 19.1% stake in GHL.

Sources have told StarBizWeek that Creador has realised some RM185mil in proceeds from the disposal of its stake in GHL.

“Creador has been instrumental in helping the growth of GHL since its entry into the latter as a substantial shareholder in 2014.

“The private equity firm could have easily achieved about 40% internal rate of return by disposing its stake to Actis,” according to the source, while adding that GHL’s profit has grown from RM6.5mil during Creador’s entry to RM18mil as of last year.

The entry of Actis into GHL is vital, considering the prospects of an immediate exposure to the exciting prospects of the fast growing Asean payment space with its 620 million population.

GHL group CEO Danny Leong was optimistic of the acquisition and welcomed the involvement of Actis.

“I truly believe that with our experience in Asean and Actis’ in other emerging markets, we would be able to continuously offer relevant world class solutions and services to our merchants, financial and non-financial institutions partners.

I am very excited to work closely with them to bring GHL to the next level,” said Leong.

The Main Market-listed GHL provides payment services and solutions encompassing physical, Internet and mobile payments. It has key operations in Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Australia.

GHL’s market capitalisation as of March 8 was valued about RM712mil.