Sunday, October 25

Norwegian tech company exits Nigerian venture

Norwegian software company, Opera, announced it has made a $6.1 million divestment from a Nigerian subsidiary. The disclosure was made during the company’s second quarterly report for 2020. Opera did not mention the name of the company it exited.

In Nigeria, Opera operates a few companies alongside a partnership in portfolio company OPay. 

The European company owns the Opera browser, one of the most popular browsers in the country thanks to its data saving features. Opera also operates OList, the classifieds listing platform, Opera News and OKash, the lending service. OKash exits as both a separate app and on  OPay through a partnership.

So which Nigerian venture did Opera divest from?

Obviously, it’s not OPay. Opera considers the Nigeria-based fintech to be a strategic company with more long-term value. The fintech has had an impressive run, racing its way to 5 million monthly active customers in April 2020, up from 100,000 in April 2019. With $170 million raised from a number of China’s biggest investors, Opera and its Chairman, Yahui Zhou, are committed to OPay.

“[W]e believe our investments in OPay… will drive value creation for Opera shareholders as these businesses continue to execute,” Frode Jacobsen, Opera’s Chief Financial Officer, told investors.

Among its other Nigerian subsidiaries, Opera made it clear that it still controls OList. On its earnings call, Opera spoke of the classifieds business as a current business. It disclosed that OList, which launched in Nigeria last year, has crossed 6 million monthly active users in Q2 2020, up from 4 million in Q1 2020.

“[W]e are quite proud,” Opera’s Chief Operating Officer, Lin Song said on the call. “That’s a big user base compared to Nigeria.”

While still barely a year old, Opera expects OList to generate revenue by the second half of 2020. Opera expects the service to contribute to a “small” portion of its total revenues. “[A]nd our focus here is to prepare for significant contribution to our growth as we look into 2021 and beyond,” Song added.

Alongside OList, Opera News has also been very successful within a relatively short period of time. Launched in January 2017, Opera News crossed 200 million users in June 2020. In Q2 2020, Opera executive disclosed the service had an average of 205 million. Song attributed the success of the news services to “very strong presence” and partnership with “local content producers” in key countries including Nigeria, Kenya and Cote d’Ivoire.

So in essence, Opera hasn’t exited Opera News in Nigeria. Continue reading

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