Egyptian fintech MNT-Halan secures $120 mln of investment

Mounir Nakhla, co-founder of Egyptian fintech companies MNT and Halan holds a phone during an interview with Reuters in Cairo, Egypt June 22, 2021. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany/File Photo

CAIRO, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Three private equity funds and a group of venture capitalists have invested about $120 million in Egyptian microfinance lending and payments company MNT-Halan, the investors said on Wednesday.

MNT-Halan has more than four million customers in Egypt and has disbursed more than $1.7 billion in loans, the investors told Reuters.

The investment was completed last month, said Sofiane Lahmar, a partner at London-based Development Partners International (DPI) whose African Development Partners III fund is among the investors.

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New legislation and regulatory changes in Egypt, the Arab world's most populous country, are helping to unleash a surge in new fintech investments and change the way the country's largely unbanked citizens do business.

MNT-Halan was Egypt's first private non-bank company to be licensed by the central bank to operate a digital wallet, a mobile app that lets consumers, vendors, lenders and borrowers transfer money, pay bills, buy goods on instalment and secure loans, CEO Mounir Nakhla told Reuters in June.

"It is a digitally enabled company that is literally digitising the unbanked and bringing financial services to the unserved," said Matteo Stefanel, a managing partner at Apis Partners, whose Apis Growth Fund II is also among the lead investors.

This year, MNT completed a share swap to take over fintech company Halan Inc to create MNT-Halan, said Nakhla, a co-founder of both firms.

Other investors in MNT-Halan include Cairo-based Lorax Capital Partners, and Middle Eastern venture capitalists Algebra Ventures, DisrupTech, Endeavor Catalyst, Egypt Ventures, MEVP and Wamda.

Egypt's large, young and increasingly digitally savvy population, as well as a regulatory focus on financial and digital inclusion, have made it especially attractive as an investment, Stefanel said.

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Reporting by Patrick Werr Editing by Mark Potter

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