Uber-Like Gains Lure Transaction Capital Into Metered Taxi Ranks

  • Lender to South African minibus transport to expand financing
  • Full-year earnings excluding one-time items increase 30%

Transaction Capital Ltd., a lender to South African minibus taxi drivers, will expand into the metered fleet market to take advantage of a boom in e-commerce services such as Uber Technologies Inc., Chief Executive Officer David Hurwitz said.

The Johannesburg-based company’s SA Taxi unit provides financing to about 25,000 of the approximately 200,000 minibus taxis that transport South African commuters from townships, Hurwitz said in an interview Tuesday. The company made about 6,000 new loans in the year to Sept. 30, he said.

“Uber is changing the psyche of the South African to make them more amenable to commuting in a metered cab,” Hurwitz said by phone in Johannesburg after the results. “We’ll take an 18-month test period and once we’re comfortable, we’ll roll it out, so I don’t want to give numbers just yet.”

Transaction Capital is targeting new loans for the replacement of vehicles and growth in the 20,000-car metered taxi market as the country gradually welcomes the cab culture prevalent in cities such as New York and London, Hurwitz said. The company’s acquisition strategy remains conservative as slow growth weighs on South Africa’s economy while asset prices are high, he said.

Headline earnings from continuing operations during the period rose to 393 million rand ($27.8 million) from 302 million rand a year earlier, the company said earlier.

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