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FSC completes investment in Spanish consumer finance specialist Ufasa

Source: Financial Services Capital

Financial Services Capital (“FSC”), the private equity investor dedicated to the transformation of the European financial services sector, has completed its acquisition of a stake in JZ Lending Ltd, which controls Spanish consumer finance specialist Unión Financiera Asturiana (“Ufasa”).

The Bank of Spain has approved FSC’s investment into this regulated financial services company.

Ufasa is an independent consumer finance specialist, founded in 1984 and headquartered in Oviedo, Asturias, that was initially partly acquired by JZ International in 2020. FSC’s investment is expected to accelerate the transformation and digitalisation of Ufasa’s business. FSC Co-Founders and Managing Partners Matthew Hansen and Miroslav Boublik, as well as Senior Associate Mehmet Demirci, will join the Board of Directors.

FSC’s investment has facilitated the acquisition by Ufasa of Spanish fintech company Zank, an omni-channel point-of-sale credit platform. This acquisition will enable Ufasa to underpin its strategy of digitalisation and modernisation of its business model, with the aim of becoming a leader in point-of-sale financing, with a differentiated value proposition based on service to the trade, as well as simplicity and transparency. Zank offers consumers and points-of-sale a fast and easy to use omnichannel financing solution. Its pioneering technology enables it to approve large transactions instantly, allowing it to finance more than €65 million in 22,000 consumer transactions to date.

Matthew Hansen, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at FSC, commented:
“Ufasa’s infrastructure and business are already being moved forward and pulled into the present by the leadership team headed by Pedro Escudero and Rafael Marin. We could not have backed a more talented team, and enthusiastically support the terrific leadership of this dynamic duo. Pedro and Rafa have already heavily reduced Ufasa’s dependence on legacy systems, including paper-based loan applications and manual underwriting. In addition, there are opportunities to acquire a number of smaller targets as bolt-on acquisitions to further drive growth. We are delighted to be partnering with JZ International, and together we will continue to support this transformation in building a more resilient, technology-enabled business.

Ole Groth, Senior Partner at JZI, commented:
“Our partnership with FSC will allow us to accelerate Ufasa’s strategy of growth, modernisation and digitalisation. They have played an important role in bringing the acquisition of Zank to a close and we very much look forward to working together with them and with our management team in turning Ufasa into a leading player in Spanish consumer finance. FSC brings the experience in financial services that we sought in a co-investor.”

Pedro Escudero, Chief Executive Officer at Ufasa, added:
“It is very exciting to work with FSC in the transformation of Ufasa. We believe that Ufasa will benefit tremendously from FSC’s capabilities and technology-enabled value-creation strategic support. We value FSC’s experience and know-how in technology utilisation which, together with their portfolio of Enabling TechnologiesTM and the acquisition of Zank, set us on course to achieve our goal of becoming a leading technology-enabled consumer finance business.”

Ufasa is FSC’s fourth financial services investment to have been executed during the Covid-19 pandemic, following its second Nymbus funding announcement last month, and prior investment in Barion, a European payment business. The transactions underline the development of FSC’s platform and the resilience of its team and platform capabilities throughout its first year, notwithstanding the global pandemic.

FSC launched in 2020 to capitalise on a once-in-a-generation investment opportunity, transforming financial services businesses through a hands-on, operationally focused and technology-enabled value creation strategy. The firm invests in mid-market businesses in Europe, targeting opportunities in the banking, specialty and consumer finance, insurance, asset and wealth management and payments sectors.

The firm seeks to support financial services businesses that have the opportunity for transformation, implementing modern technology architecture, adapting business models to changing customer demands, enhancing profitability through operating efficiencies combined with rigorous underwriting discipline, and seeking synergistic consolidation opportunities of attractively priced assets.

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