London-listed online gaming operator bwin.party digital entertainment has agreed a joint venture partnership between its payment processing subsidiary Kalixa and Millicom, the Swedish telecommunications firm.

The 50:50 joint venture will offer business and consumer payment processing services in Africa and Latin America, with Colombia and Brazil set to be the first markets to begin operations later this year.

Under the terms of the JV, each party will invest an initial $4m into the venture and appoint two directors to the board of the business, which seeks to capitalise on what it describes as a $1.78 trillion opportunity.

“This joint venture is part of our three-year plan to grow the Kalixa group and leverage its strong technology and payment processing capabilities to increase shareholder value,” said Kalixa chief executive Ed Chandler. “As developing markets, Latin America and Africa represent a combined $1.78 trillion opportunity for the payments industry.”

The JV will offer a full range of cross-platform payment acceptance services in the regions, including payment gateway and point of sale solutions for merchants, and one-click payment and eWallet provisions for online customers.

It will seek to leverage the strength of Millicom in Africa and Latin America, where the company operates its Tigo range of digital services including mobile communications, pay TV and entertainment platforms, mobile money, internet and broadband.

Millicom chief executive Hans-Holger Albrecht commented: “Working with Kalixa will enable us to offer a complete digital payments service in markets where ecommerce is growing rapidly and where we already have a strong presence. It is a great combination of our respective expertise.”

Shares in bwin.party digital entertainment plc (Co. Data) (LSE:BPTY) were trading up 1.64 per cent at 94.27 pence per share in London early Thursday, shortly after the announcement.

Shares in Millicom International Cellular (OMX:MIC) were trading up 0.32 per cent in Stockholm early Thursday at SEK621.50 per share.

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