by Staff Writer
JSE and Nasdaq-listed tech firm Net1 announced on Tuesday it has acquired a strategic stake in Bank Frick, which is based in Balzers, Liechtenstein.
Liechtenstein is the sixth-smallest country in the world. It lies in the heart of the Alps between Switzerland and Austria. It is a is a doubly landlocked German-speaking microstate in Central Europe. It is a constitutional monarchy with the rank of principality, headed by the Prince of Liechtenstein.
Net1, which facilitates payments between institutions and individuals without easy access to banking services, has bought 30% stake in Bank Frick.
As part of the deal, the South African-based firm will have a two-year option to acquire a further 35% shareholding in the Bank Frick.
The bank was founded in 1998 by Kuno Frick Sr. It is fully owned by the Kuno Frick Family Foundation. It focuses on private banking, payment services, real estate and opportunities.
Bank Frick is the only bank in Liechtenstein with acquiring licences from Visa and MasterCard. It employs around 70 members of staff.
Bank Frick also operates a branch in London.
“We decided to become a strategic investor in Bank Frick to cement a critical component of Net1’s international activities as we are completely reliant on having a stable, long term and strategic relationship with a fully licensed bank – being a significant stakeholder is the best way to ensure alignment and longevity,” said Serge Belamant, chairman and CEO of Net1.
He added that Net1 has agreed with Bank Frick that approximately $30 million (R403 million) of its free equity will be utilized as seed capital for a fund dedicated to our future activities.
While Mario Frick, chairman of Bank Frick said that Net1 possesses enormous digital know-how.
“With the expansion of Net1’s involvement, we will be able to strengthen our current business areas, drive forward our fintech strategy, develop new digital business models and enter new markets.”