Apis Partners sells Retail Capital stake to mark third exit of 2022

 Apis Partners sells Retail Capital stake to mark third exit of 2022

The UK-based private equity firm Apis Partners said Wednesday its maiden fund, Apis Growth Fund I, has entered into an agreement to sell its entire stake in South African small and medium enterprise (SME) financing company Retail Capital Proprietary Holdings to TymeBank Holdings.

TymeBank is another portfolio company of Apis Partners, having backed it from fund II last year.

The PE firm invested in Retail Capital in October 2018, acquiring around 11.7% shareholding. This was via a joint venture with Crossfin- Crossfin Apis Transaction Solutions. Retail Capital, which was set up in 2011, has lent over ZAR5.5 billion in working capital to more than 43,000 business owners in South Africa over the last decade, making it the largest SME funder of its kind in the sector.

Apis said the acquisition by TymeBank is set to bolster its business banking offering – which currently has more than 100,000 customers. “The merged entity will accelerate Retail Capital’s ability to channel funding efficiently to small business owners in South Africa. The Retail Capital management team will continue to play a critical role in the growth of the combined business post-transaction,” it added.

The latest deal comes just over two months after Apis exited Q Link via a secondary deal with Sanlam PE. Apis had also invested in Q Link in 2017 from its first fund.

Earlier this year, Apis had partially exited Sun King as General Atlantic and others bet $260 million on the company.

These three liquidity moves could set the right stage for Apis as it plans for the next fund in the near future.

TymeBank is one of the world’s fastest-growing digital banks, with more than 5 million customers since launching in February 2019. It is majority owned by Patrice Motsepe’s African Rainbow Capital and recently raised fresh capital.

Recent investors include Tencent, an internet and technology company based in China and British International Investment, the UK’s development finance institution and impact investor. Others include Apis Growth Fund II, JG Summit Holdings, African Fig Tree, a ring-fenced vehicle established by the founders along with key individuals and the Ethos AI Fund.

In total, Apis fund I has made three full exits- Trans-Fast Remittance, Direct Pay Online and Q Link- besides two partial exits- Star Health Insurance and Green Light (Sun King).

Its second fund has made a full exit from Tutuka with a share swap and a partial exit from Coda.

Vivek Sinha

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