Network International considers options for initial public offering

Network International, a card payment processing company in Dubai, yesterday said yesterday it is considering an initial public offering.

The company, of which Emirates NBD owns 51 per cent and Abraaj Capital owns 49 per cent, said it was studying various options but did not elaborate.

“At this point in time, no decisions have been taken as to whether the shareholders of NI will proceed with any such transactions,” said the company.

“In the event NI’s shareholders decide to proceed with any transaction, further announcements will be made.”

Abraaj and Emirates NBD declined to comment.

Network International was set up in 1994 by Emirates Bank to provide payment processing facilities for the bank. It was before Emirates Bank’s merger with NBD.

In 2010, Abraaj Capital bought a 49 per cent stake in Network International for about Dh2 billion, leaving Emirates NBD as the major shareholder, but also opening up the possibility that Network International might be spun off as a separate corporate entity.

The Abraaj Group was working with Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and the Egyptian investment bank EFG-Hermes on a planned IPO of Network International, Bloomberg News reported in June, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

Emirates NBD might decide to retain its 51 per cent stake, which could be valued at as much as US$2bn, Bloomberg said.

Network International serves more than 70 banks and financial institutions in the Middle East and Africa and more than 17,000 individual merchants, according to information on Abraaj’s website.

The company also manages one of the region’s most extensive ATM networks.

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