Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 9 April 2020

GFH acquires 70% stake in Dubai-based payment technology firm Marshal

The company did not disclose the value of the acquisition the FinTech made through its investment banking arm

Hisham Alrayes of GFH says his company will help solidify Marshal's market position. Razan Alzayani / The National
Hisham Alrayes of GFH says his company will help solidify Marshal's market position. Razan Alzayani / The National

Bahrain-based GFH Financial Group acquired a 70 per cent stake in FinTech firm Marshal - its second major investment in a technology firm.

The transaction was made through GFH's investment banking arm, GFH Capital, the company said in a statement on Tuesday, without disclosing the value of the deal.

Established in 1981, Dubai-based Marshal, is one of the oldest payment technology firms in the region. With operations in 16 countries, it claims a market share of 85 per cent in the UAE and a majority share in most other markets it operates in. It also claims a 30-year business relationship with Verifone, which has a 40 per cent global share of the point-of-sale device market used for card payments.

“Marshal’s longstanding track record, its consistently positive financial performance and strong leadership team make this a very unique and compelling proposition," Hisham Alrayes, chief executive of GFH, said.

GFH will help Marshal solidify its market position by developing "next generation payment technologies", he added.

The deal will allow Marshal to expand within existing markets and engage in the "vigorous pursuit of even greater innovation", according to the company's chairman and founder, Anil Dhar.

Gaurav Dhar, a technology entrepreneur and global FinTech investor, will continue to serve as the chief executive of Marshal, the statement added.

GFH’s first major tech investment was its acquisition of an 85 per cent stake in discount voucher app The Entertainer in 2018. It has since invested extensively in expanding its real estate portfolio.

In February, the bank said it acquired a hospitality portfolio in the US in partnership with investment firm Arbor Lodging Partners. The deal, worth $250 million (Dh917.5m), was also executed through GFH Capital.

Earlier this month, the Manama-based lender reported a 38.7 per cent drop in its fourth-quarter net profit in 2019, dragged down by a rise in impairment charges.

Net profit attributable to the shareholders of the bank in three months to the end of December slumped to $6.5m. Higher provisions for credit losses from the group’s commercial banking subsidiary impacted quarterly earnings, it said, without providing the provision figures.

The bank’s full-year 2019 profit also declined 29.8 per cent to $80.1m. GFH’s revenue last year, however, climbed to $335.7m, up from $286.2m reported at the end of 2018, it said at the time.

Updated: February 18, 2020 06:37 PM

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