MOROCCO –Chari, a Moroccan B2B e-commerce and retail startup has acquired Axa Credit, the credit branch of Axa Assurance Maroc, for US$22 million.
The acquisition follows Chari’s recently closed seed extension round that saw it valued at US$100 million and begin offering BNPL services to its customers.
The deal allows Axa Credit to operate independently as the parent owners Axa Assurance is pulling out of the Moroccan market.
Chari digitizes the largely fragmented fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector in parts of French-speaking Africa, particularly Morocco and Tunisia.
It operates a mobile app that connects small retailers in these two countries to FMCG multinationals and local manufacturers, allowing them to order and get products in less than 24 hours.
The acquisition of Axa Credit makes Chari one of the few, if not the only, startups to acquire a local branch of a global bank.
Accessing a loan in Morocco is difficult as lenders need to prove financial stability to repay, which is near impossible due to a lack of bank accounts.
According to a report, 70% of the country’s population are either unbanked, underbanked, or unable to prove recurring income.
The startup provides a solution to this problem through Karny, a tool that records money movement in and out of business to determine loans these merchants underwrite to their customers.
The deal will offer Chari the credit license needed to start offering loans to its FMCG B2B clients who can then lend money to their consumer clients.
The startup also offers loans and goods on credit to merchants who act as branches and the startup offers underbanked the opportunity to play on a level field with those who have bank accounts.
Chari offers a free credit line to its merchants; the cost of the loans is charged to the FMCG suppliers in the form of a higher distribution margin.
The platform plans to charge merchants a setup fee and low-interest rates when it amasses more users in the near future.