by Gugu Lourie

Cardtronics, which defines itself as the world’s biggest operator of non-bank ATMs, announced on Tuesday that it would acquire South Africa’s independent ATM provider, Spark ATM Systems.

The Nasdaq-listed ATM giant didn’t disclose the amount it would pay for the South African independent ATM provider, which has a growing nationwide network of about 2,600 ATMs.

The deal, which is the first for Cardtronics in the African continent, would make South Africa an anchor market in Africa for the US-based operator on non-bank ATMs.

Cardtronics CEO Steve Rathgaber
Cardtronics CEO Steve Rathgaber

Spark ATM Systems is the independent ATM deployer in South Africa, installing and operating industry-leading ATM equipment to service the South African bank and retail ATM market.

Expanding Global Footprint to African Market

The Cape Town-based company was founded in 2005.

Its customers include filling stations BP, Engen, Total, Shell and retailers OK Foods, Pick n Pay, Spar, MassCash, Liquor City and etc.

 “Spark ATM Systems is an innovative and highly respected ATM deployer, with relationships with leading banks in South Africa, making it a strong fit with Cardtronics,” Cardtronics CEO Steve Rathgaber said in a statement.

“We are excited to broaden our global footprint into South Africa, with a management team that has built an impressive operating and technology platform.”

Spark ATM Systems expands Cardtronics’ global presence by adding South Africa as an anchor market in Africa, alongside the company’s established operations in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

South Africa’s ATM Market Under-penetrated

South Africa is under-penetrated in terms of ATMs per person relative to Cardtronics’ two largest existing markets and consumer use of retail ATMs in South Africa is well-established, with nearly 80 percent of all ATMs located off-site from a bank branch, according to research firm RBR.

Spark ATM Systems MD Mark Sternberg.
Spark ATM Systems MD Mark Sternberg.

Spark ATM Systems will continue to operate under its current name, and its founders, Marc Sternberg and Russel Berman, and the existing management team will continue in their current roles.

The Spark ATM Systems head office in Cape Town will be retained as Cardtronics’ African base of operations.

 “This is a major milestone for Spark and is a strong vote of confidence not only in our organisation but also in the growth potential of South Africa’s ATM market. We are excited about the synergies between Spark’s robust operating platform and proven sales engine, and the added capabilities and credibility that come with the world’s premier ATM services provider, Cardtronics,” said Spark ATM Systems MD Marc Sternberg.

“We look forward to further developing and capitalising on these combined strengths to serve our existing customers, unlock new business opportunities and further expand the reach of ATMs in South Africa.”

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