The leading Japanese conglomerate Mitsui & Co. has acquired a 14.9% stake in Russia’s largest payment systems operating company Qiwi, the company announced. Mitsui purchased the shares in Qiwi from the management of the company and Mail.ru Group (formerly, Digital Sky Technologies (DST)). Mitsui will help Qiwi expand its instant payment services globally, specifically in BRICs, Indonesia and Mexico.
Qiwi holds some 45% share of instant payment service market in Russia. Some 80 million people use Qiwi to pay mobile phone, utility and other bills monthly. Qiwi reported turnover of 176.9 billion Roubles (ca. US$ 5.9 billion), revenues of 3.5 billion Roubles (ca. $116 million), EBITDA of 883 million Roubles (ca. $30 million) and net income of 522 million Roubles (ca. $17 million) for the first half of 2010. In June 2010, Qiwi had over 152,000 points of sales including over 100,000 payment terminals.
Qiwi (formerly, OE Investments) was formed in 2007 when instant payment providers OSMP and e-port merged. The shareholders of Qiwi are its management with 63.7%, Mail.ru Group – 21,4%, and Mitsui – 14,9%.
Update: According to newspaper Vedomosti, Mitsui valued Qiwi at 25 x EBITDA in 2010. That would imply a valuation of over $1.3 billion for Qiwi or over $150 million for a 15% stake in Qiwi.