Injaz Mena makes bumper return on electronic payments firm

Injaz Mena, an investment company based in the United Arab Emirates, made a 63 percent return in 14 months from its investment in Frankfurt-listed electronic payments company Smarttrac, demonstrating why there has been so much private equity interest in the sector.

UAE-based Injaz Mena Investment Company has recorded a 63 percent profit in 14 months on its investment in Dutch electronic payments company Smarttrac, after selling down its remaining stake for an undisclosed sum.

Injaz Mena bought the company in February 2006 and listed it on the Frankfurt bourse in late July, retaining a five percent stake in the company. It subsequently sold this stake last month, generating a 63 percent return for the firm.

Smarttrac produces smart card components for secure industrial and consumer applications such as credit cards and inlays for e-passports.

Electronic payment companies have proved popular with buyout firms. This year, KKR bought First Data for $29 billion in one of the largest ever buyout deals, while Blackstone picked up Alliance Data for $7.8 billion, Warburg Pincus acquired Megavante for $625 million, and General Atlantic bought a minority stake in the Global Electronic Trading Company for an undisclosed sum. AXA Private Equity continued the trend only last week with the acquisition of Welcome Real-Time.

Injaz Mena was licensed by the UAE Central Bank in 2005 and now has a portfolio of over 1 billion dirhams ($272 million, €204 million). It has made 19 deals in private equity and real estate in the last 20 months. According to a statement, the company has made a 35 percent gain on each of its realised and unrealised investments.

The company has some influential regional and global limited partners, including wealthy private individuals and institutional investors. As well as investing across the Gulf Co-operation Council, the Middle East and North Africa, the company also invests in the US, Europe and Asia.