18 Jan 2011 14:43

Mitsui acquires 14.9% in QIWI payment system

MOSCOW. Jan 18 (Interfax) - Mitsui & Co has acquired 14.9% of shares in QIWI Ltd, Russia's biggest operator of self-service payment terminals, the Japanese company said in a statement.

Mitsui signed an agreement for acquiring a stake in QIWI on December 20, 2010.

The transaction's value was not specified in the statement. Following the acquisition, QIWI's management, including general director Andrei Romanenko, own 63.7% while Mail.Ru Group's stake has been reduced from 25.09% to 21.4%.

Both sides are not divulging the transaction's value, Romanenko said at a press conference on Tuesday following a "decision of all shareholders."

Mitsui said in a statement: "Mitsui aims to move into the field of payment terminals and electronic payments, which are widely used in Russia and other overseas countries to pay mobile phone and public utility bills and other charges and to develop business in the consumer goods sector in the Russian market."

The company said that investment in the Russian company would be long-term and it has no plans to sell its stake in the foreseable future.

Commenting on upcoming joint plans, Romanenko said that the company intends to study the Japanese corporation's technological experience carefully, as well as the markets where it has operations with a view to possible entry.

Mitsui intends to enter Russia's payment terminal market, through which around 80% of subscribers use for payment of their cellular services. QIWI's stake on the payment service market comes to around 45%. Around 80 million clients use their terminals monthly. In addition, QIWI's terminals also can be used for paying utilities and making money transfers.

Mitsui's strategy foresees speeding up its global expansion on the consumer market. The company's priority regions are the BRIC countries, as well as Indonesia and Mexico, the statement said.

QIWI has operations in Russia and 15 other countries, including Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Bulgaria, Romania, China, Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates and others. The company plans to expand its operations in other Eastern European, Central and South American and Southeast European countries.

QIWI Ltd. (earlier OE Investment Ltd.) was founded in 2007 and includes the QIWI payment service (uniting CJSC OSMP and CJSC E-Port), First Processing Bank, lotto organizer OOO Lotto Integrator, OOO Pay Kiosk, electric money system Qiwi Koshelek (OOO Mobilnyi Koshelek) and terminal advertising company Qiwi Reklama (OOO Direct Contact).

As of the end of the first half of 2010, QIWI had 160,000 points of sale, including over 100,000 payment terminals.

QIWI's consolidated sales revenue in 2009 came to 6.1 billion rubles, EBITDA - 785 million rubles and net profit - 567 million rubles.