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The French fintech Qonto strikes a blow by buying its German competitor Penta

The French fintech Qonto strikes a blow by buying its German competitor Penta

Qonto, which offers SMEs and the self-employed a set of financial management services, has struck a blow. It has just acquired Penta, its German competitor and thus signs its first acquisition. Alexandre Prot, one of the founders – his father, Baudouin, managed BNP Paribas between 2003 and 2011 – explains the reasons for this takeover: “Germany is a buoyant market for Qonto since it is the one that has grown the most for 18 months, with a 170% growth in the number of its customers last year, a figure also expected this year”.

Penta brings him on a plateau 50,000 additional customers (+20%). Germany will thus become Qonto’s second market after France. The number of employees will increase from 700 people in Paris, Berlin, Barcelona and Milan to 900.

Qonto, a company valued at more than 4 billion euros, not yet profitable

Launched in July 2017, Qonto joined the very exclusive club of unicorns in early January, these young technology companies valued at more than a billion dollars, thanks to a fundraising of 486 million euros which values ​​the company. 4.4 billion euros.

The company then communicated on the continuation of its European expansion, with investments of 100 million euros in each of the four countries where it is present: France, Italy, Spain and Germany.

This envelope was used to finance the takeover of Penta, in cash and Qonto shares, the amount of which has not been revealed.

Qonto still aims to increase the number of its employees to 2,000 by 2025 and to reach one million customers by the same date. The transaction is expected to close in the coming weeks. Neither company is profitable at the moment.

How the Qonto neobank became the all-in-one management tool for SMEs

In 2020, the cumulative losses of French online banking players widened

Profitability that is not easy to find for players in the sector. Indeed, if the online banking sector in France is buoyant, the number of customers is rising sharply, the cumulative losses of the 15 main players in online banking in France widened in 2020.

In total, their net losses amounted to 441 million euros that year, compared to 376 million in 2019. The net profit per customer logically follows the trend, going from a median level of – 45 euros in 2019 to – 57 euros in 2020.

Net banking income (equivalent to turnover in this sector) is progressing and too little compared to general costs (staff, IT, etc.) “still too high”, according to the ACPR, the sector regulator.

Account opening bonuses and advertising expenses still weigh heavily on the cost of customer acquisition. The ACPR pays particular attention to the profitability of companies in the sector. In March, she pointed out the unprofitable or unprofitable growth model of new payment players.

(With AFP)