Nigeria’s leading e-payments giant Interswitch has acquired a majority stake in healthcare technology company, eClat.

The deal completed in September means Interswitch is staking for a place in the electronic health records and mobile clinics space in Nigeria. Integrating its famed payments infrastructure with eClat’s seven-year experience in providing support services to healthcare service providers, it could prove an innovative combination from one of Africa’s biggest companies. eClat currently operates in Lagos, Oyo, Edo, Delta, Enugu and Ondo states.

By acquiring shares from current shareholders and subscribing to the newly issued shares, Interswitch now owns a 60% stake in eClat Healthcare Limited. The payments company sees its latest acquisition as a vehicle for addressing Nigeria’s long-standing challenges in healthcare delivery. 

“The combined product offerings of Interswitch and eClat are expected to, amongst other things, enable operators in the healthcare sector develop new capabilities, improve the efficiency of their core operations and facilitate seamless payments”, according to a company statement announcing the acquisition.

In both Nigeria and Africa, fintech companies took in about six times more investor funds than healthcare tech companies in 2017, a TechCabal ‘State of Health Tech in Nigeria’ study shows. Interswitch’s move marks the second major acquisition in the Nigerian health tech space in recent times. As the global discourse on development highlight the need for governments to ease and democratize access to quality healthcare for its citizens, it is noteworthy to see a leading technology company take an active role. 

Mitchell Elegbe, Interswitch’s CEO, says his company’s expansion into healthcare reflects an ambition “to provide customers with greater access to healthcare across different interaction points beyond hospitals, such as at pharmacies and primary health care facilities, providing much-needed services to patients across Nigeria and, in the future, in Africa”. 

While its most recent acquisitions – VANSO and Paynet – have been financial services startups at their core, eClat represents an entry into more lifestyle-related products for Interswitch. It is perhaps a sign of things to come as they look to strengthen their place in the fintech industry where smart, ambitious upstarts are rising to cater to a generation of digital-first consumers.

Interswitch is reportedly scheduling a dual-listing in London and Lagos before year-end. Share sales could begin this month according to Bloomberg, and an IPO would give the company a $1.5 billion valuation.

For more information on the state of health tech in Nigeria, purchase TechCabal’s latest study here

Alexander Onukwue Author

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