Global Payments Inc. (GPN), a leading worldwide provider of payment technology services, CaixaBank, Spain’s largest bank by market share, and Erste Group Bank AG, a leading financial services provider in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), announced today an agreement to form a joint venture to provide merchant acquiring and payment services in three core locations in Central and Eastern Europe: Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania.
Erste Group Bank, headquartered in Vienna, is one of the largest financial institutions in the eastern part of the EU. Ever since its foundation in 1819 as Central Europe’s first savings bank, Erste Group has been pursuing a business strategy focused upon the real economy. Erste Group has a large consumer banking footprint with more than 2,800 branches in 7 countries and 16.2 million clients.
CaixaBank is a leader in technological innovation worldwide and has been a pioneer of new payment systems. It has been named as the World’s Most Innovative Bank by Euromoney in 2014 and 2013, and it recently won the Innovative Spirit in Banking accolade at the 2014 Global Banking Innovation Awards, organised by the Bank Administration Institute and Finacle. CaixaBank is a strategic partner of Global Payments in Spain and Brazil and of Erste across CEE markets.
“We are pleased to enter into this partnership with CaixaBank and Erste Group,” said Jeff Sloan, Chief Executive Officer of Global Payments. “The joint venture will allow us to significantly expand our direct distribution footprint in Europe with leading financial partners, catalyze our capabilities to service multinational customers across the common European payments area and leverage our global product and service offering to Erste Group Bank’s merchants. The partnership positions our European business for accelerated growth at a favorable time in Europe.”
“This joint venture will see CaixaBank fortify its international presence by harnessing two of its biggest strengths: its capacity for technological innovation, for which it has earned global renown, and collaboration with international partners such as Global Payments and Erste Group Bank,” said Gonzalo Gortázar, Chief Executive Officer of CaixaBank.
“Our clients expect from their acquiring bank innovative technology, better service availability, reduced transaction costs and top class information management. By joining forces with two strong expert companies in this field we will increase the focus on our acquiring business and further upgrade the quality service that we provide to merchants across Central and Eastern Europe. The deal represents an important step for Erste Group in CEE and we expect it to lead to further growth in our payments business,” commented Peter Bosek, Erste Group Board Member responsible for retail banking.
Global Payments and CaixaBank will pay €30 million in cash to acquire a 51 percent majority ownership in the venture. Erste Group will contribute its existing merchant acquiring businesses in each of the three countries to the joint venture and will hold a 49 percent interest. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of fiscal 2016, subject to receipt of regulatory approvals and satisfaction of customary closing conditions.
Global Payments does not expect the joint venture to have a material impact on the company’s fiscal 2016 cash earnings per share or capital plans. Global Payments will provide additional financial information about the joint venture upon closing.