Russia's Otkritie reportedly to take control of Qiwi

By bne IntelliNews June 13, 2017

Russian financial group Otkritie plans to increase its ownership in the Russian payment system Qiwi from its current 8.85% to 63.85%, paying about $700mn (624mn) for the stake, Vedomosti daily reported on June 13.

Qiwi specialises in payment services via physical, online and mobile channels, processing over RUB69bn (€1bn) of cash and electronic payments per month and servicing more than 18mn virtual wallets and 157,000 kiosks and terminals.

Earlier this year, Otkritie purchased a diamond-producing unit of Lukoil for $1.45bn (€1.29bn) and applied for an acquisition of Rosgosstrakh Bank from the top 50 bank list.

Otkritie became a Qiwi shareholder in 2015, when it contributed its Contact money transfer system and Rapida payment processing platform in exchange for 5.6mn Qiwi shares (vs. the 4.0mn it currently owns).

"There have been no major joint product developments that we have seen, future products could easily be developed on a commercial basis and we do not believe Qiwi has searched widely for strategic investors," Renaissance Capital said in a research note.

"For Otkritie spending $700mn to increase its exposure to early stage Russian fintech seems aggressive," the note added. "We believe the transaction might be aimed at better positioning Qiwi from a regulatory perspective."

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