Brazilian payments firm Conductor raises $150 million, eyes U.S. listing: CEO

SAO PAULO/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Brazilian payments firm Conductor has raised $150 million in a private funding round to expand its business in Latin America ahead of a possible stock market listing in the United States, Chief Executive Antonio Soares told Reuters.

The fundraising underscores the expectation that financial technology companies can grow as more individuals in the region access the banking system.

Backed by investment firm Riverwood Capital and payments processor Visa Inc V.N, Conductor provides payments services and software to companies including fintech businesses and retailers. It has 30 million active users and processes 1.5 billion transactions per year, according to Conductor's website.

“The electronic payments industry in Latin America is some five to 10 years behind Brazil and regulation in the region is pursuing more competition,” Soares said in an interview.

The funding round is led by Viking Global Investors and also includes Sunley House Capital, an affiliate of Advent International.

Proceeds will be used to expand Conductor’s reach in Latin America, both through its own growth and by acquiring companies. Conductor started its international expansion this year and now has businesses in Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Argentina and Ecuador.

Much of Latin America’s population does not have a bank account, creating opportunities for non-traditional finance firms, Soares said. Around one-third of Brazilians do not have a bank account, one of the highest ratios in the world.

Soares declined to disclose Conductor’s valuation following the round, but said Riverwood remains the controlling shareholder.

Soares billed the fundraising as probably the company’s last before it undertakes an initial public offering (IPO) in the United States.

Should Conductor list on a U.S. exchange, it would follow in the footsteps of other Brazilian payments companies including StoneCo Ltd STNE.O and PagSeguro Digital Ltd PAGS.N. Both have performed well since listing in 2018, gaining 131% and 74%, respectively.

Goldman Sachs advised Conductor on the fundraising.

Reporting by Carolina Mandl in Sao Paulo and David French in New York; Editing by Lincoln Feast