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Industry roundup: 14 September

Global Payments to acquire B2B payments firm MineralTree 

Global Payments, a provider of payment technology and software solutions, has announced an agreement to purchase MineralTree, a provider of accounts payable automation and business-to-business (B2B) payments solutions, from an investor group led by Great Hill Partners, .406 Ventures and Eight Roads Ventures. MineralTree’s software-as-a-service (SAAS) offerings automate procurement processes, including invoice capture, coding and approval, and enable virtual cards and integrated payments options across a variety of vertical markets to digitise payables for customers.

In combination with Global Payments' existing B2B payments capabilities, including commercial payments, domestic and international acquiring, payroll, data and analytics, access to non-card based rails and virtual card provisioning, MineralTree’s cloud-native solutions substantially expand Global Payments’ target addressable markets and provide significant incremental avenues for growth in one of the most attractive technology markets. Global Payments also says it will provide advantages for buyers, suppliers and employers through the creation of new virtual networks, and by expanding the company’s marketplaces and ecosystems.

Under the terms of the acquisition agreement, Global Payments will acquire MineralTree for US$500m in cash. Global Payments will finance the acquisition with its existing credit facility and cash on hand. The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021.

 

Nordic economic outlook sees a new phase

The pandemic is far from over, but the global economic outlook remains benign, according to Helge Pedersen, group chief economist at Nordea: "We expect global growth to land at 5.5% this year, before slowing to 5.1% and 4.1% in 2022 and 2023, says. Inflation has risen sharply, and it may stabilise at a higher level than seen in many years."

In the Nordics, the spread of the virus is under control, the last remaining restrictions are being lifted and growth is high. Pre-pandemic levels of production have been reached in all countries, which are now entering a new phase where the need for further economic policy stimulus must be reviewed.

The Danish economy has moved from a deep crisis to a risk of overheating in record time. Overall economic activity now exceeds pre-pandemic levels and the fast recovery requires full flexibility of the labour market and considerable adaptability in terms of economic policy. The housing market appears to be normalising after a period of very large price increases. Consumer prices have started to rise faster than previously and there are signs of mounting wage pressures.

In Finland, economic growth was strong during the summer. GDP reached the pre-pandemic level in the second quarter of 2021. The good export performance has initiated machinery investments and construction investments are benefitting from a strong housing market demand. Strong employment growth and gradually decreasing household savings rates are fuelling private consumption.

The Norwegian economy has now regained all the ground lost during the coronavirus crisis. Unemployment has dropped sharply in sync with the reopening of society. At the same time, the number of job vacancies is record high and signs of mismatch in the labour market are emerging - which could lead to higher wage growth. The housing market rally is over and prices will likely flatten going forward. Norges Bank will start normalising interest rates in September this year.

The Swedish economy is entering a new phase where high resource utilisation will hamper production growth. Growth is set to become more widespread, with investment as a key driver alongside exports and household consumption. Labour shortages will give rise to increasing concern and wage growth will pick up. Inflation will rise due to higher commodity prices and elevated transportation costs, however not persistent enough for the Riksbank to tighten monetary policy.

 

Astra and Plaid partner to enable fintechs to embed automated bank transfers

Technology company Astra has announced a formal partnership with Plaid, a data network, to offer an integrated solution for developers to easily enable programmatic money movement for their customers. As part of the partnership, companies can use Plaid’s Auth product in tandem with Astra’s automation platform to provide automated ACH transfers to their users with less friction. 

The partnership means that developers are able to build advanced self-driving product experiences and enable programmatic money movement for their customers. For example, a new customer to an authorised application can easily connect a bank account, have its ownership validated, and set up their first automation in a single session. Moreover, with just a few clicks, the transfer automation will continue to work - moving funds for that user until modified or cancelled. Another added benefit - customer deposits will continuously grow, and debit cards always have available funds for spending without manual intervention from the user.

Astra’s API allows developers to provide transfer automation for users to solve a variety of needs, such as sweep extra funds above a balance threshold from one account to another; one-time transfers between bank accounts in T+1 settlement up to US$25,000 per transfer; and automated refill programmes to move funds into a depository account from a secondary account based on a target balance.

 

Rabo fintech SurePay adds two investors on its mission to prevent payment fraud

SurePay, inventor and leading provider of Confirmation of Payee (CoP) in the UK and Benelux, has raised a €12.2m funding round led by Connected Capital with Iris Capital, joining Rabo Frontier Ventures to boost the company’s international expansion.

The funding will support the hiring of new business development teams in Germany, the UK, a cross border team and new IT experts to scale the technology platform and to further develop new solutions for customers.

The company plans to launch bulk payments related products, cross border payments as well as expand SurePay PayID, a Pay Your Contacts solution, to offer new methods of secure and seamless payment services to its customers. The 'CoP for Organisations' solution, based on its best-in-class Confirmation of Payee algorithm, will therefore be made accessible across Europe.

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