Creador books 2.8x on Malaysian payments provider

03.04.17 / Author: Carmela Mendoza, Private Equity International

Creador sold its 28.3 percent stake in Malaysian payment services provider GHL Systems Berhad to growth markets investor Actis.

Creador’s exit will generate a return of 2.8x and an IRR of 40 percent in Malaysian ringgit terms or a 2.1x and an IRR of 27 percent in US dollar terms, the firm said in a statement.

The deal is part of a larger transaction in which Actis also acquired an additional 16.1 percent interest from GHL executive vice chairman Simon Loh. Following the sale, Actis will own 44.4 percent of the company for a total investment of MYR 290 million ($65.5 million; €61.4 million). Actis will work alongside Loh and the remaining shareholders to support management to further scale and enhance GHL’s position as a leading regional payments business, the firm said in a statement.

Commenting on the investment, Hossam Abou Moussa, Partner at Actis, said: “Investing in market leading businesses in the sectors we understand is a core pillar of our growth markets investment strategy. We are extremely excited by the opportunity to partner with Simon and the management team and bring what we have learned in other markets to help GHL to scale and to cement its position as a regional leader.”

Creador acquired GHL in November 2013 for $19.7 million through its second buyout vehicle Creador II, which raised $330 million in October 2014 and is fully invested across 13 deals. Following the firm’s exit from GHL, the firm would have realised 14 percent of Creador II.

During Creador’s investment period, GHL’s revenue increased from MYR 165 million in 2014 to MYR 246 million in 2016, while the company’s net income grew almost three-fold to MYR 18 million during the same period. GHL also acquired e-pay Asia, an electronic top-up service provider for mobile phone users, in 2014 and launched merchant acquiring businesses in Malaysia and the Philippines in the last two years.

GHL is a payment services provider with operations in Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Australia. The company provides integrated end-to-end payment services through physical, Internet and mobile payments and manages more than 140,000 point of sales across the region.

Malaysia-headquartered Creador manages over $800 million of assets. In December last year, the firm raised $415 million for its third fund Creador III, which targets consumer businesses in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, India and the Philippines.