BLS International, a global tech-enabled services partner for governments and citizens, announced on June 8 that it has acquired Zero Mass Private Ltd (ZMPL), India's largest business correspondent.
BLS has agreed to acquire 100% equity shares of ZMPL for an equity consideration of Rs 120 Crores, including an entire stake of 63.94% held by Anurag Gupta (main promoter). Pursuant to the transactions already completed, BLS now owns an 88.26% equity stake in ZMPL. State Bank of India continues to hold a 6.83% Equity stake in ZMPL.
BLS International has stated that it has become the country's largest business correspondent network with this all-cash acquisition from internal accruals.
BLS E-Services Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BLS, has carried out the proposed transaction. BLS International plans to extend and consolidate its BC business through this acquisition.
It is mentioned in the statement released by BLS International that with roughly 11,500 active CSPs (15 percent of all SBI BCs), ZMPL has the largest BC network for the State Bank of India ("SBI").
It is further said that with CSPs in all states and union territories, the firm has a pan-India reach. ZMPL has contracts with Utkal Grameen Bank and Karur Vysya Bank in addition to SBI. ZMPL, which was founded in 2007, controls about 6% of the bank accounts, deposit base, and total transaction value in India's BC system, the statement stated.
Commenting on the acquisition, Shikhar Aggarwal, Joint Managing Director, BLS International said, “We are excited to welcome the ZMPL team on board as it strengthens our business correspondent vertical for the next phase of growth.
"We believe that through this acquisition, the collective experiences of teams will build synergies and further help BLS to enhance its reach to deliver trusted banking services to rural and semi-rural India. We have all seen that business correspondent networks are a critical last-mile link in the Indian banking system to bring greater financial inclusion. This acquisition shall result in a substantial increase in our touch points from ~3,060 to 14,500+ CSPs, which BLS would seek to leverage through multiple initiatives in the future.”