Network International's 2022 performance gains were driven by new merchants coming on board, plus the expanding presence in Saudi Arabia. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Network International, the Dubai-headquartered card payment processing company, will buyback a further $47 million worth of its shares this year and bring the total to $100 million since 2022. The company is listed on London Stock Exchange and its stock is quoting at 270.61 pence.

The Network stock is still some way off from the 52-week high of 362.4 pence. (In comparison, the 52-week low was 152.9. And clearly, the buyback program last year has rubbed off on the price.)

During 2022, Network International raised revenues of $438.4 million, up an impressive 24.5 per cent, with gains from the ‘merchant services business’. This led to an EBITDA of $178.6 million, ‘supporting margin expansion of 240 basis points to 40.7 per cent’.

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Net profit too turned in a healthy performance, up 41.6 per cent to $80.1 million.

Another big plus, for now and into the near-term, is the completion of its technology deployment in Saudi Arabia. It signed up four additional financial institutions there, ‘providing a solid underpin to its medium-long term revenue target for the Kingdom of $50 million’. (Network has initiated the process to provide merchant payment services in Saudi Arabia and has received in-principle approval for a ‘Major Payment Institution Category license’.)

2023 forecast
Network retains a 'positive outlook for the year with its core markets rapidly transitioning towards digital payments at a pace significantly ahead of more developed economies'. Revenue growth in the high teens is expected for 2023 at constant currency levels, with EBITDA margins 'slightly ahead of 2022'.

Egypt is the other breakthrough

Network also launched direct-to-merchant payment services in Egypt in January, 'adding to its thriving acquirer and issuer processing business' that services more than 20 financial institutions. The focus is on the SME segment, where it seeks to replicate its success in the UAE.

On the whole, "We accelerated revenue growth to 24.5 per cent year-on-year in 2022, having also achieved margin expansion whilst investing in new opportunities," said Nandan Mer, CEO. "This is the result of our revitalised strategic approach which is creating a more agile and effective business, supported by strong economic growth across our markets and continued acceleration towards digital payments.

We delivered several critical initiatives, including our market entry to Saudi Arabia, merchant payment services in Egypt, and the launch of commercial payment services.

- Nandan Mer, CEO of Network International

More Africa possibilities

The group’s ecommerce revenues doubled through the 'integration and growth of DPO Group'. "We remain excited about the growth potential in Africa and will soon deploy our best-of-breed technology platform on-soil in a number of countries, enhancing our competitive positioning and unlocking additional revenue pools," said Mer.