• Net profit soars 41.6% supported by margin expansion
  • Domestic consumer spending up 20% driven by strong UAE consumer confidence with international visitor spending surging 64% on rapid tourism growth
  • Egypt Direct-to-merchant payment services launched in early 2023
  • Additional KSA revenue opportunity from merchant payment services in the year ahead

Network International (Network), the leading enabler of digital commerce across Africa and the Middle East, today announced its preliminary financial results for the year ended 31 December 2022.

Network reported total revenue of USD 438.4 million up 24.5% compared to the previous year led by stellar performance in its Merchant Services business, which grew its revenue by 41.4% year on year. Consequently, underlying EBITDA increased to USD 178.6 million, supporting margin expansion of 240bps to 40.7%, reflecting the company’s largely fixed cost base. Net profit for the year was USD 80.1 million, up 41.6% year on year driven by the company’s robust EBITDA performance.

Network made strong progress with its geographic expansion, launching processing solutions in Saudi Arabia. The company completed its technology deployment in the Kingdom and signed four new financial institutions (FI), bringing its total customer numbers to six, providing a solid underpin to its medium-long term revenue target for the Kingdom of USD 50 million. Additionally, Network has initiated the process to provide merchant payment services in Saudi Arabia and has successfully received in-principle approval for Major Payment Institution Category license from the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA). This will further expand the company’s revenue opportunity in Saudi Arabia.

Network also launched direct-to-merchant payment services in Egypt in January 2023, adding to its thriving Acquirer and Issuer Processing business which serves over 20 FIs. The company’s focus is on the SME segment, where it seeks to replicate its success in the UAE.

The company’s share buyback programme of USD 100 million is expected to complete during 2023. USD 40.6 million was repurchased during 2022, and USD c13 million to year-to-date, with a further USD c47 million to complete.

Nandan Mer, Chief Executive Officer, commented:

“We accelerated revenue growth to 24.5% y/y in 2022, having also achieved margin expansion whilst investing in new opportunities. This is the result of our revitalised strategic approach which is creating a more agile and effective business, supported by strong economic growth across our markets and continued acceleration towards digital payments. We delivered several critical initiatives, including our market entry to Saudi Arabia, merchant payment services in Egypt and the launch of commercial payment services. We expanded our suite of value-added-services, providing a range of new solutions for merchants and financial institutions; and have doubled the Group’s e-commerce revenues through the integration and growth of DPO Group. We remain excited about the growth potential in Africa and will soon deploy our best of breed technology platform on-soil in a number of countries, enhancing our competitive positioning and unlocking additional revenue pools.

Cash generation was strong, which has supported shareholder returns through the launch of a USD 100 million share buyback programme, whilst retaining our flexibility to take advantage of additional growth or acquisition opportunities.

We thank our colleagues and customers for their support and delivery of such a strong outcome. The year ahead holds many growth opportunities, supported by our scale, capabilities, people and trusted brand.”

Merchant Services growth of 41.4% with record signups and strong performance in the UAE

Network’s Merchant Services business significantly increased revenue to USD 183 million in 2022, up 41.4% compared to the previous year as the total value of payments processed (Total Processed Volume (TPV)) by the segment in the Middle East, primarily consisting of the UAE, increased 28.9% year on year.

Domestic TPV increased 20%, driven by strong consumer confidence as the UAE’s economy remains robust in a challenging global backdrop and International TPV surged 64% with the country witnessing rapid tourism growth after hosting several landmark events during the year.

Network’s strategic focus areas deliver rapid growth with Online TPV and SME TPV substantially increasing by 39% and 41%, respectively, as Network signed a record number of new merchants, primarily driven by the SME sector. This significant achievement was supported by the launch of digital onboarding, low-cost mobile phone app payment acceptance and the web-store builder associated with its ‘DPO Pay’ package. The company also continues to attract new large merchants, securing Anantara, Taj Tower Hotel Group, Talabat, Audemars Piguet, and Western Union, amongst others.

Outsourced Payment Services growth of 13.3% supported by new customer wins and cross-selling

Network’s Outsourced Payment Services revenue increased 13.3% year on year to USD 243 million in 2022, supported by the addition of 18 new FI clients, with the rollout of new APIs supporting the automation of customer onboarding. The company also renewed six notable existing contracts and expanded portfolios with customers through successful cross-selling. Consequently, transaction volumes increased by 32.1% year on year and credentials managed increased by 8.4%.  

Network reached a new milestone with its largest customer Emirates NBD by signing a new strategic Acquirer Processing partnership to provide merchant acquiring services to a number of the bank’s institutional clients in the UAE through white-labelled services. The partnership will also extend to SME merchants through a referral agreement.

2023 outlook and financial guidance

Network retains a positive outlook for the year with its core markets rapidly transitioning towards digital payments at a pace significantly ahead of more developed economies. The company expects revenue growth in the high teens for 2023 in constant currency, with EBITDA margins slightly ahead of 2022.

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1. Financial definitions and further details on financial disclosures are available in the company’s regulated RNS on the London Stock Exchange.

2. DPO is included within the Merchant Services segment following the acquisition on 28th September 2021, with TPV and revenue not included in the Q1-Q3 2021 base.


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Andy Parnis