JOHANNESBURG, April 24 Emerging markets private
equity firm Actis said it would invest in South African credit
bureau Compuscan, in its latest deal in the financial services
industry on the fast-growing continent.
Bankers say the lack of credit bureaus in sub-Saharan Africa
has limited many consumers' access to loans. Without credit data
on potential borrowers, banks are more reluctant to lend because
they are unable to accurately price loans.
Actis said it saw the deal as the "first in a series of
investments" in the industry.
Under the deal, Actis has established a company, Credit
Services Holdings, which will acquire all of Compuscan. Actis
will then invest in Credit Services Holdings along with
management of Compuscan.
Privately owned Compuscan operates in six sub-Saharan
countries, including South Africa, Uganda and Ethiopia, Actis
said in a statement on Thursday. Only 5 percent of African
adults are covered by credit bureaus, compared with 64 percent
in developed countries, it added.
Actis did not give details on the size or terms of the deal
or what percent of Credit Services Holdings it would acquire.
Michael Jordaan, previously the head of the retail unit of
South African bank FirstRand, will be chairman of
Credit Services Holdings, it said.
Last year London-based Actis paid $95 million for the
payments and ATM business of South Africa's Transaction Capital
, targeting the growth of debit cards and electronic
payments among millions of low-income shoppers.
(Reporting by David Dolan; editing by Jane Baird)