February 08, 2013 at 03:53 AM EST
Bango Raises $10.2M To Take Its Mobile Payments Service Into Brazil, India And Other Asian Markets
Today mobile payments company Bango -- provider of carrier billing services to the likes of Facebook, Amazon, Telefonica, Google, Blackberry, Opera and more -- doubled down on its emerging market strategy. The publicly-traded company announced announced that it has raised £6.5 million ($10.2 million) through a placing of 3,250,000 new ordinary shares on the London Stock Exchange at 200 pence per share, with institutional investors the main buyers in an "oversubscribed" offering. The funds, Bango says, will be used to expand its operations in markets like Brazil and India, as well as other parts of Latin America and Asia.
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Today mobile payments company Bango — provider of carrier billing services to the likes of Facebook, Amazon, Telefonica, Google, Blackberry, Opera and more — doubled down on its emerging market strategy. The publicly-traded company announced announced that it has raised £6.5 million ($10.2 million) through a placing of 3,250,000 new ordinary shares on the London Stock Exchange at 200 pence per share, with institutional investors the main buyers in an “oversubscribed” offering. The funds, Bango says, will be used to expand its operations in markets like Brazil and India, as well as other parts of Latin America and Asia.

The move follows a deal with Telefonica, announced in January, to power carrier billing services globally. That deal will see Bango get a commission on transactions made on Telefonica’s platform, where users charge an app-related payment, or another mobile content payment, to either their Telefonica bill, or by deducting from a prepaid Telefonica credit. Telefonica, based in Spain, has extensive operations in Latin America, including Brazil.

But it also comes at a time when the company needs cash if it intends to invest in growth: in the nine months ending December 2012, Bango reported a loss of £2.4 million ($3.8 million); £1.3 million ($2 million) for one-off items. It attributed a bulk of that loss to extra investments that it had to make to be prepared for the introduction of BlackBerry 10, it said. It noted at the time that smartphone business accounted for 80% of consumer spend on its platform, with feature phones “reaching end-of-life.” Gross margins are around 3.7%, and its net cash was £2.3 million ($3.6 million). In other words, carrier billing services may hold a lot of promise but they are not paying huge dividends yet.

Bango says that it now has a reach of some 1 billion mobile users through its service, although “billable identities” — that is, actual customers or people who have passed through its network — is significantly lower, at 200 million.

Like many other companies in the mobile industry, Bango is looking to emerging markets for growth at a time when more mature markets are approaching smartphone penetration. But while smartphone makers see that as handset sales slowing down in developed markets, it means something different in mobile payments.

For Bango, emerging markets represent an opportunity because credit and debit card penetration in these economies remains low, making it a challenge for carriers and app store operators to sell paid apps and other paid mobile content. That presents an opportunity for carrier billing, where charges are made directly to a user’s mobile phone bill, or by deducting credit from a prepaid account. This was also one of the main reasons why Telefonica inked its deal with Bango — to create a more frictionless way of enabling payments in Latin America specifically. That deal was not exclusive, giving Bango an opening to forge ties with more carriers in the region.

“We believe emerging markets represent an exciting growth opportunity for us, and are seeing increasing interest from key customers in these areas, in particular in Brazil, Latin America, India and other parts of Asia,” Ray Anderson, Bango’s founder and CEO, notes in the statement below. “This fundraise provides us with the resources to move forward in developing those opportunities and we are confident that the massively smooth user experiences enabled by our unique technology platform, extensive mobile network operator relationships and industry leading customers provide us with a clear competitive edge in the fast growing mobile payments industry.”

Specifically, Bango says that it will be using the new funds for three areas: financing further moves into emerging markets; strengthening its balance sheet to “demonstrate to key partners that Bango’s financial position is not being stretched”; and to provide alternative sources of financing “if required.” The company has been adding more funds to its reserves over the last year: raised £3 million in May 2012 for business development, and says that it has invested some £1 million “of its own cash” in the second half of 2012 to build up its IT and balance sheet.

Full release below.

8 February 2013

BANGO PLC
(“Bango”)

£6.5 million Share Placing

Bango (AIM: BGO), the mobile web payments and analytics company, is pleased to announce that it has conducted a proposed placing with institutional investors of 3,250,000 new ordinary shares at 200 pence per share to raise £6.5 million (approximately US$10.2 million) before expenses (the “Placing”).

Highlights

· Placing of 3,250,000 new ordinary shares, at a price of 200 pence per share, to raise £6.5 million (approximately US$10.2 million) before expenses

· Oversubscribed placing with significant support from both new and existing institutional investors

· Bango intends to use the net proceeds of the Placing in order to be better positioned to take advantage of developing opportunities and, specifically:
~ to increase its capability to underwrite emerging market opportunities
~ to have greater capacity to fund further business development with a view to gaining more mobile network operator partners; and
~ to generally strengthen Bango’s balance sheet to permit alternative sources of financing if required

· The new Ordinary Shares are expected to be admitted to trading on AIM on 26 February 2013

Ray Anderson, CEO of Bango, commented:

“Bango has made significant progress through 2012 and into 2013, with a total reach now exceeding 1 billion mobile phone users. We have executed on our plan to support a significant scaling-up in future transaction volumes; making key hires to boost our executive and operational team and investing in our technology platform. We have also seen good development across our key metrics, with analytics transaction volume doubling again during 2012 and end user spend growth resuming towards the end of 2012 and into 2013.

“We believe emerging markets represent an exciting growth opportunity for us, and are seeing increasing interest from key customers in these areas, in particular in Brazil, Latin America, India and other parts of Asia. This fundraise provides us with the resources to move forward in developing those opportunities and we are confident that the massively smooth user experiences enabled by our unique technology platform, extensive mobile network operator relationships and industry leading customers provide us with a clear competitive edge in the fast growing mobile payments industry.”

About Bango

In the era of mobile technology, collecting payments has emerged as a central and complex challenge. Bango (AIM: BGO) powers payment and analytics on the mobile web, providing users with a massively smooth payment experience.

Bango’s pervasive presence across the web creates a platform effect for partners, identifying hundreds of millions of users and maximising the number of single click payments. Customers who plug into Bango include Facebook, Blackberry App World, Windows Phone Store, Amazon and major mobile brands including CNN, Cartoon Network and EA Mobile. Visit: http://www.bango.com

Introduction

Bango (AIM: BGO), the mobile web payments and analytics company, is pleased to announce that it has conducted a proposed placing with institutional investors of 3,250,000 new ordinary shares at 200 pence per share to raise £6.5 million (approximately US$10.2 million) before expenses (the “Placing”).

Reasons for the Placing and use of Proceeds

In May 2012, Bango announced that it was raising approximately £3 million net of expenses by way of a placing of new Ordinary Shares. Following that successful fundraising, Bango executed its plan to prepare for significant scaling-up in future transaction volumes; Bango made key hires to boost its executive and operational team, invested approximately £1 million in a major hardware and software platform refresh in its primary datacentre in order to be capable of processing significantly higher volumes of payment and analytics transactions and continued to innovate in its payment platform and analytics products.

Bango now holds more than 200 million billable identities and has a total reach exceeding 1 billion mobile phone users. Analytics transaction volume doubled again during 2012 and end user spend growth resumed again towards the end of 2012 and this trend has continued into 2013.

Bango is now witnessing increasing interest from key customers in emerging markets which could benefit most from operator billing (as credit card use is less prevalent in these markets). In particular, Bango sees opportunities in Brazil through its new relationship with Telefónica as well as with other mobile network operators elsewhere in Latin America. Bango has also spent some time with key customers and mobile operators in India and uncovered similar opportunities there and in other parts of Asia.

Accordingly, Bango intends to use the net proceeds of the Placing in order to be better positioned to take advantage of these opportunities and, specifically,as follows:

~ to increase its capability to underwrite emerging market opportunities. The Directors believe that a stronger balance sheet will demonstrate to key partners that Bango’s financial position is not being stretched.

~ to have greater capacity to fund further business development with a view to gaining more mobile network operator partners. In this regard, the Directors consider that the recently announced Telefónica partnership is potentially significant for Bango and they are keen to enter into further partnerships with other major mobile network operators. The Directors recognise that developing such business will take time and additional resources and they wish to ensure that Bango’s existing payment and analytics operations do not suffer as a result; and

~ to generally strengthen Bango’s balance sheet to permit alternative sources of financing if required. As noted in the recent market update, Bango has invested more than £1 million of its own cash during the second half of 2012 in IT infrastructure and the additional balance sheet strength could enable more cost effective alternative financing if needed.

Details of the Placing

The Placing is conditional upon, amongst other things, certain shareholder resolutions being passed by the requisite majority at a general meeting of Bango to be held at to be held at Bango’s registered office at 5 Westbrook Centre, Milton Road, Cambridge CB4 1YG at 2.00 p.m. on 25 February 2013 (the “General Meeting”). If the resolutions are not passed by the requisite majority, the Placing will not proceed.

A circular (the “Circular”) containing a notice convening the General Meeting will be posted to shareholders shortly. A copy of the Circular will be available at http://www.bango.com. Application will be made for the new ordinary shares to be admitted to trading on AIM and it is expected that dealings will commence on 26 February 2013.

Following the Placing, Bango will have 45,431,669 ordinary shares in issue and each share has the right to one vote. Therefore, for the purposes of the Financial Services Authority’s (“FSA”) Disclosure and Transparency Rules, the total number of voting rights in Bango will be 45,431,669. This figure may be used by shareholders as the denominator for the calculations by which they will determine whether they are required to notify Bango of their interests in, or change to their interests in, Bango under the FSA’s Disclosure and Transparency Rules.

The Placing has only been made to persons (i) falling within the description of persons that, if they were clients of Cenkos Securities PLC, could be categorised as a “professional client” or an “eligible counterparty” within the meaning of Chapter 3 of the FSA’s Conduct of Business Sourcebook, (ii) of a kind described in paragraph 5 of Article 19 or paragraph 2 of Article 49 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Financial Promotion) Order 2005 (as amended), and (iii) who fall within the provisions of Article 2.1(e)(i) of the Prospectus Directive and no other person may participate in the Placing or rely on any communication relating to it.
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