UK-based P2P Global takes stake in Harmoney

P2P Global Investments increased its holding in Harmoney to about 7m shares.

UK-based peer-to-peer lender P2P Global Investments (P2PGI) has lifted its stake in local platform operator Harmoney to 4.5%, while also giving the Auckland-based firm a $200 million funding line.

P2P Global Investments increased its holding in Harmoney to about 7 million shares worth some $4 million, a Harmoney spokeswoman says.

That implies a share price of 57c and is up from about 1.1 million shares, or 0.3% in February. That month, P2P Global Investments participated in an earlier capital raising, buying about 615,000 shares at 32.5 a share, according to Companies Office filings. On those figures the UK firm paid about $3.1 million for the new shares.

Harmoney says the equity injection values the peer-to-peer lender at $100 million, up from $55 million during the January capital raising. The current funding round is still open to the firm's investors.

"P2PGI has been an institutional investor on the Harmoney marketplace since early 2015," founder and chief executive Neil Roberts says. "Its equity investment in Harmoney aligns the two companies even closer."

The other leg of the deal will see the UK-firm "purchase loans from the Harmoney marketplace up to $200 million over the next three years across both the New Zealand and Australian markets." Harmoney facilitated $100 million of loans in its first year of operation.

In January, Trade Me Group, New Zealand's biggest online auction site, paid $7.7 million for a 15% stake as part of the peer-to-peer lender's $10 million capital-raising, joining Heartland New Zealand, the listed bank, which took a 10% stake last September, for an undisclosed sum.

In August, P2P Global Investments said its investment manager entered into a deal with Harmoney in the first half of the year, calling it "a promising New Zealand based platform."

It has also established deals with US platforms Lending Club, Upstart, and Prosper, and UK peer-to-peer lenders Funding Circle, Zopa, and RateSetter.

Harmoney launched in September 2014 with $100 million of committed lending capital from institutions including Blue Elephant Capital Management in New York and Heartland Bank.