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Foresight agrees conditional sale of Ixaris

Foresight Group (Foresight), a UK-listed infrastructure and specialist regional private equity investment manager, has agreed the conditional sale of Ixaris Group Holdings Limited (Ixaris), a specialist in travel payment technology, to Nium Pte Limited (Nium), a global B2B payments platform based in Singapore.

Ixaris’ main product is a pre-paid debit card providing flexible funding and payment methods. It was the first to be introduced across Europe in 2003 and revolutionised the travel payments industry. Ixaris has clients in over 50 countries, ranging from the World’s largest travel brands to independent travel agencies. Its products enable clients to manage spend and potentially boost margins by up to 20 per cent by reducing surcharges, earning rebates, flattening FX fees and streamlining reconciliations. Since inception, more than 24 million transactions have completed for 200-plus clients, with a total payment volume of more than GBP5 billion. In 2019 alone, more than 10 million virtual cards were issued.

Nium and Ixaris are complementary businesses and by joining forces they will be able to create a modern solution that combines Ixaris’ leading virtual card capability with Nium’s advanced pay-in, pay-out and embedded foreign exchange capabilities. Nium’s support will enable Ixaris to expand into new sectors and geographies to further strengthens its position within the travel industry. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to complete in the Q3 2021.

Since the original investment in March 2006, Foresight has taken a proactive approach to supporting the senior management team, including helping to recruit Spencer Hanlon in December 2020, a travel industry executive with over 25 years’ experience, formerly the Managing Director at AirPlus International. Foresight also helped the business establish partnerships with Visa and Mastercard, as well as navigate a complex regulatory landscape post-Brexit by becoming dual regulated in Malta and the UK. The Company’s rapid growth has seen headcount increase from less than a dozen on investment to 86 full time employees today.

This successful sale to Nium further consolidates Foresight’s credentials as an experienced technology investor for fintech companies requiring early stage support and advice as they expand into new markets. This transaction represents the fourth successful realisation by Foresight’s Private Equity team in the last 12 months, including a 6.1x return on ecommerce business Clubhouse Golf, cementing its position as one of the most active SME investors in the UK market.

Spencer Hanlon, Executive Chair of Ixaris, says: “Foresight have been a fantastic value add investor who have helped Ixaris deliver this successful outcome during challenging times.”

Stephan Gueorguiev, Investment Director at Foresight, adds: “We are delighted to have worked with the Ixaris management team to help build a fast growing payments platform at international scale.”
Foresight and the other shareholders were advised by Shoosmiths.

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