The Payments Division continues to make progress after the difficulties of 2018. Market Access is now actively adding new clients to its payment card processing service. To enhance its competitiveness in this sector, it has added further acquiring institutions to its payment gateway. The acquisition of Another Ops Limited (“Another”), as announced on 23 May 2019, will add to the Group’s offering within the payment card space, through the addition of prepaid cards, mobile payments, point of sale terminals and pay by link services, as well as bringing additional acquiring relationships.
Market Access’ foreign exchange and international payments service is gaining increasing traction, with the number of transactions in May expected to be around three times those undertaken in April, based on the number completed to date. Market Access has been granted a BIC (business identifier code) by SWIFT (The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication), the global payment network for financial institutions, which will considerably enhance the Group’s ability to make international payments. Market Access has also signed agreements to provide Union Pay, AliPay and WePay, (the major Chinese domestic payment systems) services internationally, as well as commencing several further international banking relationships.
Mark Harris, who heads Market Access added, “Another brings important proprietary software, experienced staff and new services which means we have the right blend of skills and technology to provide for our key markets – wholesale FX & related corporate services, retail FX, cards and novel alternative payments for business and consumers, as well as increased capacity for a full range of merchant services, such a point of sales machines, beyond the e-commerce services we already offer. It is expected to have an immediate beneficial effect for our existing and new clients”.
Prize Provision Services Ltd. (“PPS”), which operates as an External Lottery Manager licensed by the UK Gambling Commission has seen an increase of 8% in player proceeds (ticket sales) in the first three months of the financial year, which has in turn led to a 10% increase in funds raised for the societies it works with.
The “Unite2Win” lottery (https://www.unitelottery.org/) to raise funds for the Unite the Union Benevolent Fund, has been successfully launched. Unite is the UK’s second largest trade union, with over 1.27m members (as at 31/12/17).
In addition, the new scratch card offering, announced on 30 January 2019, is proving popular with clients and PPS hopes to see a gradual rise in the provision of this service in the coming months.
During the second half of the year to 31 January 2019, revenue was broadly in line with those experienced in the first half of the year. During the same period, expenses increased on a one-off basis due to the costs associated with the organisational restructuring detailed in the announcements of 12 July 2018, 30 January 2019 and 15 February 2019. These operational losses were offset by the exceptional profit on the sale of the Emex businesses completed on 31 July 2019 and disclosed previously in the results for the six months to 31 July 2018.
The trend from the second half of 2018 has continued through the first quarter of the new financial year (February 2019 – April 2019), as the Group has finalised the restructuring and completed the transition of its payment card processing business. As described in the announcement of 12 July 2018, the business has successfully moved away from the transacting of payments involving non-mainstream eCommerce merchants in certain jurisdictions, and it has completely rebuilt its activities and systems in this sector. The impact of new payment card processing business is expected to have a material positive effect on the Group from the second quarter of the current financial year. Payment card processing had been the largest element of the Group’s activities, so the rebuilding of this business is the key focus for the remainder of the current financial year.
As defined and outlined in the announcement on 12 July 2018, the consideration for the purchase of Emex was £2,000,000, satisfied through the issue by MDC Nominees Limited of a Loan Note to the same value, with a 10-year term. A small payment (circa 1%) has been made relating to the run-off of the old Emex business and furthermore, the Board continue to be confident that the Company will receive the full £2,000,000 repayment of the Loan Note within the ten-year term of the Loan Note.
The Company expects to announce its results for the year to 31 January 2019 in early July 2019 and to convene its annual general meeting towards the end of that month.
Graeme Paton, CEO, commented, “The existing payments business has seen month on month growth in large and small payments since the return from the suspension of trading in our shares on the AIM Market. We are pleased to be able to roll out the services offered by Another in the coming weeks.
It is also encouraging to see steady growth in the lottery business. We expect this pattern to continue as the success of the supporting campaigns by Unite and Lincoln City Football Club offerings clearly show there is a continuing demand for our lottery products, along with those of long-standing client organisations such as the Liberal Democrats.
While the Group has had a difficult last 12 months, we are seeing a clear improvement in the operating activities and I believe we are seeing the benefits of all the hard work that has gone into our turnaround”.
Full report can be found here