EML Payments Moves on UK Market With £60m Sentenial Acquisition

No job losses reported in the deal as Australian company EML Payments seeks open banking glory in the UK and Europe.

London-based fintech Sentenial has finally been snapped up by the Australian firm EML Payments for €70 million (£60.2 million). 

EML says the acquisition of Sentenial and its wholly-owned subsidiaries has been approved by the French and UK financial regulators. (It was first announced in April.) Along with the €70 million, there is also an earn-out component of up to €40 million (£34.4 million).

The deal means EML will get its hands on the open banking product suite, Nuapay, and a chance to capitalise on the lively fintech markets in the UK and Europe.

EML Nuapay will offer a platform for tailored payment solutions across a range of industry sectors.

“Strategically, this is an important acquisition for us, continuing our transition over the last 10 years from a gift card company, to a general purpose reloadable company, and now extending that again to include digital payments, open banking and account-2-account payments, giving us a unique set of capabilities in the European market,” explains Tom Cregan, MD and group CEO at EML.

Based on his comments the “whole” Sentenial team will join EML.

According to LinkedIn, Sentenial processes in excess of €42 billion (£36 billion) annually, and clients include five of Europe’s top 10 banks. Clients’ names on its website include Barclays, Cybersource, Elavon and Worldpay. Sentenial has offices in Dublin, London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Krakow.

Open banking is a popular concept in the UK and Europe, with many other firms seeking to profit from it in some shape or form.

For example, following the launch of its Payouts solution, London-based open banking platform TrueLayer closed a $130 million (£95 million) fundraising round this month. It gave the business a post-money valuation of more than $1 billion (£730.9 million) and took it into the realm of unicorns.

Anyway, EML rolls out the stats to support its acquisition.

It cites Statista, which says the number of open banking users worldwide is expected to grow at an average annual rate of nearly 50% between 2020 and 2024, with the European market being the largest.

In 2020, Europe counted approximately 12.2 million open banking users. This figure is expected to reach 63.8 million by 2024. As of 2020, 24.7 million individuals worldwide used open banking services, a number that is forecast to reach 132.2 million by 2024.

According to Statista, in the UK, the number of API calls made by third party providers (TPPs) using account servicing payment service providers’ (ASPSP) open banking APIs increased from 1.9 million monthly calls as of June 2018 to 694.4 million monthly calls in December 2020.

EML is based in Brisbane and was founded in 2001. It offers a variety of other solutions – such as buy now pay later, insurance, B2B payments, corporate expense cards and e-commerce.

The company says its technology provides an out-of-the box no code option, a low code integration or a customised API solution. Using RESTful APIs, webhooks, SDKs or portals, it aims to cater for the “diverse needs” of businesses.

By the way, EML bought the Irish company Prepaid Financial Services (PFS) last year. Although in May 2021, the Central Bank of Ireland raised “serious regulatory concerns” with this subsidiary. PFS is now known as the EML Cardholder Portal.

Antony Peyton
Antony Peyton
Antony Peyton is the Editor of eWeek UK. He has 18 years' journalism and writing experience. His career has taken him to China, Japan and the UK - covering tech, fintech and business. Follow on Twitter @TonyFintech.
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