F-1
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As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on April 1, 2019

Registration No. 333-          

 

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

FORM F-1

REGISTRATION STATEMENT

UNDER

THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933

 

 

StoneCo Ltd.

(Exact Name of Registrant as Specified in its Charter)

 

 

 

The Cayman Islands   7374   N/A
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
  (Primary Standard Industrial
Classification Code Number)
  (I.R.S. Employer
Identification Number)

R. Fidêncio Ramos, 308, Torre A, 10th floor—Vila Olímpia

São Paulo—SP, 04551-010, Brazil

+55 (11) 3004-9680

(Address, Including Zip Code, and Telephone Number, Including Area Code, of Registrant’s Principal Executive Offices)

 

 

Cogency Global Inc.

10 East 40th Street, 10th Floor

New York, NY 10016

+1 (212) 947-7200

(Name, address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of agent for service)

 

 

Copies to:

Byron B. Rooney, Esq.
Maurice Blanco, Esq.
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
450 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Tel: +1 (212) 450-4000
Fax: +1 (212) 701-5800
  Colin J. Diamond, Esq.
John R. Vetterli, Esq.
White & Case LLP
1221 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020
Tel: +1 (212) 819-8200
Fax: +1 (212) 354-8113

 

 

Approximate date of commencement of proposed sale to the public: As soon as practicable after the effective date of this registration statement.

If any of the securities being registered on this Form are to be offered on a delayed or continuous basis pursuant to Rule 415 under the Securities Act of 1933, check the following box.  ☐

If this Form is filed to register additional securities for an offering pursuant to Rule 462(b) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.  ☐

If this Form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(c) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.  ☐

If this Form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(d) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.  ☐

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is an emerging growth company as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act of 1933.

Emerging growth company  ☒

If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 7(a)(2)(B) of the Securities Act.  ☐

 

The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.

 

 

CALCULATION OF REGISTRATION FEE

 

 

Title Of Each Class
Of Securities To Be Registered
 

Amount

To Be

Registered(1)

 

Proposed

Maximum

Offering Price

Per Share(2)

 

Proposed

Maximum
Aggregate
Offering Price

  Amount Of
Registration Fee(3)

Class A common shares, par value US$0.000079365 per share

  20,642,500   $41.29   $852,328,825   $103,302.25

 

 

(1)

Includes Class A common shares granted pursuant to the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares. See “Underwriting.”

(2)

Estimated solely for the purpose of computing the amount of the registration fee pursuant to Rule 457(a) under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.

(3)

Calculated pursuant to Rule 457(c) under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, based upon the average of the high and low sales prices of the Class A common shares as reported on the Nasdaq Global Select Market on March 29, 2019.

The Registrant hereby amends this registration statement on such date or dates as may be necessary to delay its effective date until the Registrant shall file a further amendment which specifically states that this registration statement shall thereafter become effective in accordance with Section 8(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or until the registration statement shall become effective on such date as the Commission, acting pursuant to such Section 8(a), may determine.

 

 

 


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The information in this preliminary prospectus is not complete and may be changed. We and the selling shareholders may not sell these securities until the registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This preliminary prospectus is not an offer to sell these securities and it is not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted.

 

SUBJECT TO COMPLETION, DATED APRIL 1, 2019

PRELIMINARY PROSPECTUS

 

 

LOGO

17,950,000 Class A Common Shares

StoneCo Ltd.

(incorporated in the Cayman Islands)

This is a public offering of Class A common shares of StoneCo Ltd., or Stone Co. The selling shareholders identified in this prospectus are offering 17,950,000 Class A common shares. We are not offering any Class A common shares and we will not receive any proceeds from the sale of Class A common shares by the selling shareholders.

Our Class A common shares are listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “STNE.” On March 29, 2019, the last reported sale price of our Class A common shares on the Nasdaq Global Select Market was $41.11. The final public offering price will be determined through negotiation between us and the lead underwriters in the offering and the recent market price used throughout this prospectus may not be indicative of the final offering price.

We have two classes of common shares: our Class A common shares and our Class B common shares. The rights of the holders of Class A common shares and Class B common shares are identical, except with respect to voting, conversion and transfer restrictions applicable to the Class B common shares. Each Class A common share is entitled to one vote. Each Class B common share is entitled to 10 votes and is convertible into one Class A common share automatically upon transfer, subject to certain exceptions. Holders of Class A common shares and Class B common shares vote together as a single class on all matters unless otherwise required by law. Following this offering, our issued and outstanding Class B common shares will represent approximately 90.3% of the combined voting power of our outstanding common shares, assuming no exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares.

Neither the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved of these securities or determined if this prospectus is truthful or complete. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

We are an “emerging growth company” under the U.S. federal securities laws as that term is used in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012 and, as a result, have elected to comply with certain reduced public company disclosure and reporting requirements.

Investing in our Class A common shares involves risks. See “Risk Factors” beginning on page 21 of this prospectus.

 

     Per Class A
Common Share
     Total  

Public offering price

   US$                        US$                    

Underwriting discounts and commissions(1)

   US$        US$    

Proceeds, before expenses, to the selling shareholders

   US$        US$    

 

(1)

See “Underwriting” for a description of all compensation payable to the underwriters.

The selling shareholders have granted the underwriters the right to purchase up to 2,692,500 additional Class A common shares, within 30 days from the date of this prospectus, at the public offering price, less underwriting discounts and commissions.

The underwriters expect to deliver the Class A common shares to purchasers on or about                 , 2019, through the book-entry facilities of The Depository Trust Company.

Global Coordinators

 

Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC   J.P. Morgan   Morgan Stanley   Citigroup

The date of this prospectus is                 , 2019.


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LOGO


Table of Contents

LOGO


Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

     Page  

Presentation of Financial and Other Information

     iii  

Glossary of Terms

     vi  

Summary

     1  

The Offering

     15  

Summary Financial and Other Information

     18  

Risk Factors

     21  

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

     59  

Use of Proceeds

     61  

Dividends and Dividend Policy

     62  

Exchange Rates

     63  

Selected Financial and Other Information

     64  

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

     66  

Business

     101  

Management

     149  

Principal and Selling Shareholders

     160  

Related Party Transactions

     165  

Description of Share Capital and Constitutional Documents

     168  

Class A Common Shares Eligible For Future Sale

     190  

Taxation

     193  

Underwriting

     198  

Expenses of the Offering

     205  

Legal Matters

     206  

Experts

     206  

Enforceability of Civil Liabilities

     207  

Where You Can Find More Information

     209  

Index to Financial Statements

     F-1  

Unless otherwise indicated or the context otherwise requires, all references in this prospectus to “Stone Co.” or the “Company,” “we,” “our,” “ours,” “us” or similar terms refer to StoneCo Ltd., together with its consolidated subsidiaries, Linked Gourmet Soluções Para Restaurantes S.A. (“Linked Gourmet”), and Collact Serviços Digitais S.A. (“Collact”), being entities which we have a significant minority interest in but do not consolidate, and all references to the “Issuer” refer to StoneCo Ltd., the company whose Class A common shares are being offered by this prospectus.

Neither we and the selling shareholders, nor the underwriters, nor any of their respective agents, have authorized anyone to provide any information other than that contained in this prospectus or in any free writing prospectus prepared by or on behalf of us or to which we may have referred you. Neither we and the selling shareholders, nor the underwriters, nor any of their respective agents, take responsibility for, and can provide any assurance as to the reliability of, any other information that others may give you. Neither we, the selling shareholders nor the underwriters, nor any of their respective agents, have authorized any other person to provide you with different or additional information. Neither we, the selling shareholders nor the underwriters, nor any of their respective agents, are making an offer to sell the Class A common shares in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted. This offering is being made in the United States and elsewhere solely on the basis of the information contained in this prospectus. You should assume that the information appearing in this prospectus is accurate only as of the date on the front cover of this prospectus, regardless of the time of delivery of this prospectus or any sale of the Class A common shares. Our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may have changed since the date on the front cover of this prospectus.

For investors outside the United States: Neither we and the selling shareholders, nor the underwriters, nor any of their respective agents, have done anything that would permit this offering or possession or distribution of

 

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this prospectus or any free writing prospectus we may provide to you in connection with this offering in any jurisdiction, other than the United States, where action for that purpose is required. Persons outside the United States who come into possession of this prospectus or any such free writing prospectus must inform themselves about, and observe any restrictions relating to, the offering of our Class A common shares and the distribution of this prospectus and any such free writing prospectus outside the United States and in their jurisdiction (including Brazil). However, we may make offers and sales outside the United States in circumstances that do not constitute a public offer or distribution under applicable laws and regulations.

Trademarks

We own or have rights to trademarks, service marks and trade names that we use in connection with the operation of our business, including our corporate name, logos and website names. Other trademarks, service marks and trade names appearing in this prospectus are the property of their respective owners. Solely for convenience, some of the trademarks, service marks and trade names referred to in this prospectus are listed without the ® and ™ symbols, but we will assert, to the fullest extent under applicable law, our rights to our trademarks, service marks and trade names.

 

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PRESENTATION OF FINANCIAL AND OTHER INFORMATION

The term “Brazil” refers to the Federative Republic of Brazil and the phrase “Brazilian government” refers to the federal government of Brazil. “Central Bank” refers to the Brazilian Central Bank (Banco Central do Brasil). References in the prospectus to “real,” “reais” or “R$” refer to the Brazilian real, the official currency of Brazil and references to “U.S. dollar,” “U.S. dollars” or “US$” refer to U.S. dollars, the official currency of the United States.

All references to “IFRS” are to International Financial Reporting Standards, as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board, or the IASB.

Financial Statements

We prepare our consolidated financial statements in accordance with IFRS, as issued by the IASB. We maintain our books and records in Brazilian reais. Unless otherwise noted, our financial information presented herein as of December 31, 2016, 2017 and 2018 and for the years ended December 31, 2016, 2017 and 2018 is stated in reais, our functional and presentation currency. The financial information contained in this prospectus includes our audited consolidated financial statements as of December 31, 2017 and 2018 and for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2018 together with the notes thereto. All references herein to “our financial statements,” and “our audited consolidated financial statements,” are to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus.

The financial information should be read in conjunction with “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements.

Our fiscal year ends on December 31. References in this prospectus to a fiscal year, such as “fiscal year 2018,” relate to our fiscal year ended on December 31 of that calendar year.

Financial Information in U.S. Dollars

Solely for the convenience of the reader, we have translated some of the real amounts included in this prospectus from reais into U.S. dollars. You should not construe these translations as representations by us that the amounts actually represent these U.S. dollar amounts or could be converted into U.S. dollars at the rates indicated. Unless otherwise indicated, we have translated real amounts into U.S. dollars using a rate of R$3.875 to US$1.00, the commercial selling rate for U.S. dollars as of December 31, 2018 as reported by the Central Bank. See “Exchange Rates” for more detailed information regarding translation of reais into U.S. dollars and for historical exchange rates for the Brazilian real.

Special Note Regarding Non-IFRS Financial Measure

This prospectus presents our adjusted net income (loss), for the convenience of investors. Adjusted net income (loss) is a non-IFRS financial measure. Generally, a non-IFRS financial measure is a numerical measure of a company’s performance, financial position or cash flow that either excludes or includes amounts that are not normally excluded or included in the most directly comparable measure calculated and presented in accordance with IFRS. Adjusted net income (loss), however, should be considered in addition to, and not as a substitute for or superior to, profit (loss), or other measures of the financial performance prepared in accordance with IFRS.

Adjusted net income (loss)

Adjusted net income (loss) is prepared and presented to eliminate the effect of items from profit (loss) that we do not consider indicative of our core operating performance within the period presented. We define adjusted net income (loss) as profit (loss) for the period, adjusted for (1) non-cash expenses related to the grant of share-

 

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based compensation and the fair value (mark-to-market) adjustment for share-based compensation classified as a liability, (2) amortization of the fair value adjustment on intangible assets and property and equipment as a result of the application of the acquisition method, (3) certain other non-recurring items and (4) tax effects of the foregoing adjustments, as described in note (3) to “Summary Financial and Other Information.”

Adjusted net income (loss) is presented because our management believes that this non-IFRS financial measure can provide useful information to investors, securities analysts and the public in their review of our operating and financial performance, although it is not calculated in accordance with IFRS or any other generally accepted accounting principles and should not be considered as a measure of performance in isolation. We believe adjusted net income (loss) is useful to evaluate our operating and financial performance for the following reasons:

 

   

Adjusted net income (loss) is widely used by investors and securities analysts to measure a company’s operating performance without regard to items that can vary substantially from company to company and from period to period, depending on their accounting and tax methods, the book value of their assets and the method by which their assets were acquired;

 

   

Non-cash equity grants made to executives and employees at a certain price and point in time do not necessarily reflect how our business is performing at any particular time and the related expenses are not key measures of our core operating performance;

 

   

Fair value adjustments to share-based compensation expenses classified as a liability do not directly reflect how our business is performing at any particular time and the related expense adjustment amounts are not key measures of our core operating performance;

 

   

Amortization of the fair value adjustment on intangible assets and property and equipment relating to acquisitions can vary substantially from company to company and from period to period depending upon the applicable financing and accounting methods, the fair value and average expected life of the acquired intangible assets, the capital structure and the method by which the intangible assets were acquired and, as such, we do not believe that these adjustments are reflective of our core operating performance; and

 

   

Other write-offs that are one-time extraordinary charges and are not reflective of our core operating performance.

We use adjusted net income (loss) as a key profitability measure to assess the performance of our business. We believe that adjusted net income (loss) should therefore be made available to investors, securities analysts and other interested parties to assist in their assessment of the performance of our business.

Adjusted net income (loss) is not a substitute for net income or loss for the period, which is the IFRS measure of earnings. Additionally, our calculation of adjusted net income (loss) may be different from the calculation used by other companies, including our competitors in the payments processing industry, because other companies may not calculate these measures in the same manner as we do, and therefore, our measure may not be comparable to those of other companies. Additionally, this measure is not intended to be a measure of cash available for management’s discretionary use as it does not consider certain cash requirements such as interest payments, tax payments and debt service requirements. For a reconciliation of our adjusted net income (loss), see “Summary Financial and Other Information.” You are encouraged to evaluate our adjustments and the reasons we consider them appropriate.

Market Share and Other Information

This prospectus contains data related to economic conditions in the market in which we operate. The information contained in this prospectus concerning economic conditions is based on publicly available information from third-party sources that we believe to be reliable. Market data and certain industry forecast data

 

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used in this prospectus were obtained from internal reports and studies, where appropriate, as well as estimates, market research, publicly available information (including information available from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission website) and industry publications. We obtained the information included in this prospectus relating to the Brazilian internet, payment solutions and e-commerce markets, and more broadly, the industry in which we operate, as well as the estimates concerning market shares, through internal research, public information and publications on the industry prepared by official public sources, such as (1) the Brazilian Association of Credit Card and Service Companies (Associação Brasileira das Empresas de Cartões de Crédito e Serviços), or the ABECS, (2) the Central Bank, (3) the Brazilian Federation of Banks (Federação Brasileira de Bancos), or FEBRABAN, (4) the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística), or the IBGE, among others and (5) an August 2018 survey comparing the Net Promoter Scores, or NPS, of our peers in our key markets in Brazil, prepared by the Brazilian Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics (Instituto Brasileiro de Opinião Pública e Estatística), or the IBOPE, which was commissioned by us. For additional information regarding NPS, see “—Calculation of Net Promoter Score” below.

Industry publications generally state that the information they include has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but that the accuracy and completeness of such information is not guaranteed. Although we have no reason to believe any of this information or these reports are inaccurate in any material respect and believe and act as if they are reliable, neither we, the selling shareholders, the underwriters, nor their respective agents have independently verified it. Governmental publications and other market sources, including those referred to above, generally state that their information was obtained from recognized and reliable sources, but the accuracy and completeness of that information is not guaranteed. In addition, the data that we compile internally and our estimates have not been verified by an independent source. Except as disclosed in this prospectus, none of the publications, reports or other published industry sources referred to in this prospectus were commissioned by us or prepared at our request. Except as disclosed in this prospectus, we have not sought or obtained the consent of any of these sources to include such market data in this prospectus.

Calculation of Net Promoter Score

Net Promoter Score, or NPS, is a widely known survey methodology that measures the willingness of customers to recommend a company’s products and services. It is used to gauge customers’ overall satisfaction with a company’s products and services and their loyalty to the brand, and it is typically based on customer surveys. NPS measures satisfaction using a scale of zero to 10 based on a customer’s response to the following question: “How likely is it that you would recommend Stone Co. to a friend or colleague?” Responses of nine or 10 are considered “Promoters.” Responses of seven or eight are considered neutral. Responses of six or less are considered “Detractors.” The NPS, a percentage expressed as a numerical value, is calculated by subtracting the percentage of respondents who are Detractors from the percentage who are Promoters and dividing that number by the total number of respondents. The NPS calculation gives no weight to customers who decline to answer the survey question. Our NPS score of 65 was measured in an August 2018 survey we commissioned, which was conducted by the IBOPE.

Rounding

We have made rounding adjustments to some of the figures included in this prospectus. Accordingly, numerical figures shown as totals in some tables may not be an arithmetic aggregation of the figures that preceded them.

 

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GLOSSARY OF TERMS

The following is a glossary of certain industry and other defined terms used in this prospectus:

“ABECS” means the Brazilian Association of Credit Card and Services Companies (Associação Brasileira de Empresas de Cartões de Crédito e Serviços).

“active client” means a merchant that has completed at least one electronic payment transaction with us within the preceding 90 days.

“acquirer” means a payment institution that, without managing payment accounts, provides the following services: (i) accreditation of receivers for the acceptance of payment instruments issued by a payment institution or financial institution participating in the same payment scheme; and (ii) participation in the settlement process of payment transactions as a creditor with respect to the card issuer, in accordance with the rules of the payment scheme. The acquirer receives the transaction details from the merchant’s terminal, passes them to the card issuer for authorization via the payment scheme, and completes the processing of the transaction. The acquirer arranges settlement of the transaction and credits the merchant’s bank account with the funds in accordance with its service agreement with the merchant. The acquirer also processes any chargebacks that may be received via the card issuer regarding consumer transactions with merchants.

“Adjusted net margin” means adjusted net income (loss) divided by total revenue and income for any given period/year, and “Net margin” means profit (loss) divided by total revenue and income for any given period/year.

“APIs” means application programming interfaces, a set of clearly defined methods of communication between different software components, which, together with our SDKs and other tools, enables developers and resellers to create applications that can easily connect and integrate with our payment processing technology platform.

“APMs” means alternative payment methods, and includes any payment method used by customers that is not a credit or debit transaction involving a major payment scheme. APMs include, but are not limited to, local meal voucher schemes and boletos.

boleto” means a printable document issued by merchants that is used to make payments in Brazil. Boletos can be used to pay bills for products or services, utilities or taxes. Each boleto refers to a specific merchant and customer transaction, and includes the merchant’s name, customer information, expiration date and total amount due, plus a serial number that identifies the account to be credited and a barcode so the entire document can be read and processed by a Brazilian ATM. A boleto can be paid in cash at a bank teller, at an ATM, or by bank transfer. Our payment platform and merchant account can be used to pay boletos.

“BNDES” means the Brazilian Economic and Social Development Bank (Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social).

“cardholder” means an applicant (either an individual or an entity) for a credit, prepaid or debit card that has been approved by a card issuer. The cardholder may use its card at any affiliated merchant.

“card brand” means the name of the payment scheme settlor that is printed on the issued branded credit, debit and/or prepaid cards.

“card issuer” means a payment institution or a financial institution that acts as issuer of cards and administrator of prepaid/postpaid payment accounts or deposit accounts operated by such institutions in a certain payment scheme and that meets the brand qualification requirements to issue branded credit, debit and/or prepaid cards. Card issuers are also responsible for collecting amounts spent with branded credit, debit and/or prepaid cards from cardholders.

 

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“CDI Rate” means the Brazilian interbank deposit (certificado de deposito interbancário) rate, which is an average of interbank overnight rates in Brazil.

“Central Bank” means the Brazilian Central Bank (Banco Central do Brasil).

“chargeback” means a claim where the consumer makes a purchase using a payment card and subsequently requests a reversal of the transaction amount from the card issuer on the basis of a commercial claim (for example, if the goods are not delivered, or are delivered damaged). Chargebacks occur more frequently in online transactions than in in-person transactions, and more frequently for goods than for services.

“clients” means integrated partners and merchants.

“CMN” means the Brazilian National Monetary Council (Conselho Monetário Nacional).

“CVM” means the Brazilian Securities Commission (Comissão de Valores Mobiliários).

“DOC” means credit document (documento de crédito), a means of making an electronic transfer of funds used in Brazil.

“EdB” means our subsidiary, MNLT Soluções de Pagamento S.A., which was formerly known as Elavon do Brasil Soluções de Pagamento S.A. prior to our acquisition of such entity on April 22, 2016 (the “EdB Acquisition”).

“ERP” means enterprise resource planning.

“eWallet” means a digital wallet that offers clients the ability to make payments online using a variety of payment methods, including credit or debit cards, without having to type in the card details each time.

“FIDC” means a Receivables Investment Fund (Fundo de Investimento em Direitos Creditórios), an investment fund legal structure established under Brazilian law designed specifically for investing in credit rights receivables. FIDCs (and quotas representing interests therein) are regulated by the rules and regulations of the CMN and the CVM; in particular Resolution No. 2,907/01 of the CMN, and CVM Instruction No. 356/01, as amended from time to time, including by CVM Instruction No. 489/11 and CVM Instruction No. 531/13.

“FIDC AR1” means Fundo de Investimento em Direitos Creditórios—Bancos Emissores de Cartão de Credito—Stone, a FIDC launched by the Group in June 2017 in order to raise capital.

“FIDC AR2” means Fundo de Investimento em Direitos Creditórios—Bancos Emissores De Cartão De Credito—Stone II, a FIDC launched by the Group in November 2017 in order to raise capital.

“FIDC TAPSO” means TAPSO—Fundo de Investimento em Direitos Creditórios, a FIDC launched by the Group to provide working capital solutions to clients.

“gateway” means an online application that connects an e-commerce point of sale to the payment processor enabling online payment transactions.

“integrated partners” means PSPs, ISVs and marketplaces.

“interchange fee” means a fee paid by the acquirer to the card issuer (via the payment scheme settlors) for transaction established in the scope of a payment scheme.

“ISV” means integrated software vendor.

 

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“marketplace” means digital platforms that enable sellers and buyers in specific market segments to connect more effectively.

“merchant” means any person, entity or organization that accepts electronic payment transactions for the payment of goods or services.

“merchant discount rate” or “MDR” means the fee or commission paid by merchants for the service of capturing, processing, transmitting and settling transactions. The merchant discount rate is applied to the value of each cardholder’s transaction and includes the interchange fee.

“net merchant discount rate” or “net MDR” means the total MDR charged to our merchants, net of interchange fees retained by card issuers, assessment fees charged by payment scheme settlors and sales taxes.

“payment institution” means a legal entity that participates in one or more payment schemes and is dedicated to executing, as its principal or ancillary activity, those payment services described in article 6, item III, of Law 12,865/13 to cardholders or merchants, including those activities related to the provision of payment services. Specifically, based on current regulations, the Central Bank has opted to narrow the definition of payment institutions as set out in Law 12,865/13 to include only those entities that can be classified into one of the following three categories: (i) issuer of electronic money (prepaid payment instruments), (ii) issuer of postpaid payment instruments (e.g. credit cards), and (iii) acquirers.

“payment scheme” means the collection of rules and procedures that govern payment services provided to the public, with direct access by its end users (i.e., payers and receivers). Such payment services must be accepted by more than one receiver in order to qualify as a payment scheme. A payment scheme is established by and operated by a payment scheme settlor.

“payment scheme settlor” means the entity responsible for the functioning of a payment scheme, for the associated card brand and for the authorization of card issuers and acquirers to participate in the payment scheme. Visa and Mastercard are major payment scheme settlors.

“POS” means a point of sale where a transaction is completed. “POS devices” allow merchants to accept payments where a sale is made, whether inside an establishment or in outdoor or mobile environments.

“PSP” means payment services providers, which are firms that contract with a merchant to provide them with payment acceptance solutions.

“reconciliation provider” means a service provider that integrates with, among other agents, acquirers and gateways in order to provide to merchants with a reconciliation of receivables resulting from their transactions, chargebacks and refunds. Equals is a reconciliation provider that offers reconciliation solutions.

“SDK” means software development kit, which is typically a set of software development tools that allows for the creation of applications for software packages or frameworks, hardware platforms, computer or operating systems or similar development platforms.

“SPB” or “Brazilian Payments System” (Sistema de Pagamentos Brasileiro) means all the entities, systems and procedures related to the clearing and settlement of funds transfer, foreign currency operations, financial assets, and securities transactions in Brazil. The SPB includes systems in charge of check clearing; the clearing and settlement of electronic debit and credit orders, funds transfer, and other financial assets; the clearing and settlement of securities transactions; the clearing and settlement of commodities and futures transactions; and, since the introduction of Brazilian Federal Law No. 12,865/13 dated as of May 17, 2013, payment schemes and payment institutions.

 

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“Take rate” means the sum of our net revenue from transaction activities and other services, net revenue from subscription services and equipment rental and financial income, divided by our TPV.

“TPV” means total payment volume, which is the value of payments successfully processed through our integrated platform, net of cancellations and chargebacks.

“transaction” means, unless the context otherwise requires, any and all electronic payment transactions for the acquisition of goods and services.

“transaction volume” means the volume of transactions captured, processed, transmitted, and settled by acquirers or any other entity responsible for the settlement of transactions.

“UMBNDES Rate” means a floating exchange rate based on a monetary unit of the BNDES, which is based on a basket of currencies including the US dollar, the euro and other currencies.

 

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SUMMARY

This summary highlights information contained elsewhere in this prospectus. This summary may not contain all the information that may be important to you, and we urge you to read this entire prospectus carefully, including the “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” sections and our consolidated financial statements and notes thereto included elsewhere in this prospectus, before deciding to invest in our Class A common shares.

Our Company

We are a leading provider of financial technology solutions that empower merchants and integrated partners to conduct electronic commerce seamlessly across in-store, online, and mobile channels in Brazil. We have developed a strong client-centric culture that seeks to delight our clients rather than simply providing them with a solution or service. To achieve this, we created a proprietary, go-to-market approach called the Stone Business Model, which enables us to control the client experience and ensures that interactions are provided by our people or our technology. The Stone Business Model combines our advanced, end-to-end, cloud-based technology platform; differentiated hyper-local and integrated distribution approach; and white-glove, on-demand customer service, each of which is described below.

 

  1)

Advanced, End-to-End, Cloud-Based Technology Platform—We designed our cloud-based technology platform to (i) help our clients connect, get paid and grow their businesses, while meeting the complex and rapidly changing demands of omni-channel commerce; and (ii) overcome long-standing inefficiencies within the Brazilian payments market. Our platform enables us to develop, host and deploy our solutions very quickly. We also sell our solutions to integrated partners such as Payment Service Providers, or PSPs, which are firms that contract with a merchant to provide them with payment acceptance solutions, and marketplaces to empower merchants to conduct commerce more effectively in Brazil.

 

  2)

Differentiated Hyper-Local and Integrated Distribution—We developed our distribution solution to proactively reach and serve our clients in a more effective manner. In particular, we developed Stone Hubs, which are local operations close to our clients that include an integrated team of sales, service, and operations support staff to reach small-and-medium-sized businesses, or SMBs, locally and efficiently, and to build stronger relationships with them. We also have a specialized in-house sales team that serves online merchants and digital service providers with dedicated expertise. We also work with integrated partners, such as ISVs, to embed our solutions into their offerings and enable their merchants to accept payments seamlessly and easily.

 

  3)

White-Glove, On-Demand Customer Service—We created our on-demand customer service team to support our clients quickly, conveniently, and with high-quality service designed to strengthen our customer relationships and improve their lifetime value to us. Our customer service approach combines (i) a Human Connection, through which we seek to address our clients’ service needs in a single phone call using a qualified team of technically trained agents; (ii) Proximity, through our Green Angels team of local support personnel who can serve our clients in person within minutes or hours, instead of days or weeks; and (iii) Technology, through a range of self-service tools and proprietary artificial intelligence, or AI, that help our clients manage their operations more conveniently and enable our agents to proactively address merchant needs, sometimes before they are even aware of an issue.



 

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LOGO

The Stone Business Model is disruptive and has enabled us to gain significant traction in only four years since the launch of our service. In 2018, we were the largest independent merchant acquirer in Brazil and the fourth largest based on total volume in Brazil according to data from public sources. In 2017, we became the first non-bank entity to obtain authorization from the Central Bank of Brazil to operate as a Merchant Acquirer Payments Institution. In the same year, we grew our total net revenue and income to R$766.6 million, an increase of 74.3% from 2016, and in 2018, we increased our total net revenue and income to R$1,579.2 million, an increase of 106.0% from 2017. We have managed this rapid growth while maintaining high-quality service and obtaining high NPS scores. As of August 2018, we had an NPS of 65, the highest NPS among our peers in our key markets in Brazil, according to a study comparing industry participants performed by the Brazilian Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics, or IBOPE.

We served over 267,000 active clients in Brazil as of December 31, 2018, including digital and brick-and-mortar merchants of varying sizes and types, although our focus is primarily on targeting the approximately 8.8 million SMBs. We believe these merchants have been historically underserved and overcharged by traditional bank and legacy providers that use older technology, less effective distribution networks through bank branches, and outsourced customer service and logistics support vendors. We also served 108 integrated partners as of December 31, 2018, which use or embed our solutions into their own offerings to enable their customers to conduct commerce more conveniently in Brazil. These integrated partners include global PSPs, digital marketplaces and ISVs.

We provide our clients with a powerful combination of solutions that help facilitate their in-store, online and mobile commerce activities, and empower them to:

 

   

Connect More Effectively—Our solutions allow our clients to connect more effectively by integrating and connecting to our cloud-based technology platform using simple and convenient APIs. These solutions provide powerful gateway services to encrypt, route, and decrypt transactions, and PSP solutions to onboard merchants and connect integrated partners.



 

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Get Paid Quickly and Easily—We offer payment and digital account solutions to help our clients facilitate and manage their payments:

 

   

Payment Solutions: Payment collection is streamlined by accepting numerous forms of electronic payments and APMs such as boletos, and conducting a wide range of transactions in brick-and-mortar and digital storefronts in a quick and user-friendly manner. We also provide digital product enhancements to help our merchants improve their consumers’ experience, such as our split-payment processing, multi-payment processing, recurring payments for subscriptions, and one-click buy functionality.

 

   

Digital Account Solutions: We can offer our clients a digital account, which can be integrated to the POS and allows our clients to receive and make payments, issue boletos, pay taxes, all in a cost-effective and user-friendly way.

 

   

Grow Your Business—We have the ability to grow our clients’ businesses by automating and streamlining business processes at the point of sale for digital checkout. These solutions help our clients run their businesses more effectively and in an integrated manner. Our growth solutions include:

 

   

Software Solutions: POS and ERP software, reconciliation, customer relationship management reporting tools that provide greater control, transparency of information, insights into their daily operations and consumer engagement, and facilitate brick and mortar stores to sell online.

 

   

SMB Capital Solutions: we help our clients manage their working capital needs and effectively plan for the future by offering them prepayment financing options. These provide clients with transparency and control over their receivables and enable them to manage their cash flow to help their businesses grow.

 

   

SMB Credit Solutions: we can also provide our clients with credit, if they need further funding to grow their businesses beyond the working capital solutions that we provide. We leverage our client data to offer this solution in a proactive and cost-effective way. Once onboarded, our clients can access credit through multiple channels including our merchant portal in a simple and transparent way. Our credit offering enables our clients to pay back their loans effortlessly through the automatic retention of a percentage of their sales. We are in the initial stages of our credit offering and as of the date of this filing have 143 clients contracted.

We distribute our solutions primarily through proprietary Stone Hubs. These hubs are located in small and medium-sized cities, or suburban areas of larger cities, and are designed to provide hyper-local sales and services and high-quality, on-demand support to SMB merchants within the hub’s designated area of operations. Our hubs may share an office depending on the size of the area served. We believe this approach enables us to provide a superior customer experience to our clients and is a key part of our go-to-market strategy. We had 245 operational Stone Hubs in January 2019, and we are currently growing our hubs’ footprint to maximize our presence in Brazil and provide sales coverage to the country’s approximately 5,500 cities with a total population of 208.5 million.

Our in-house customer relationship team supports all of our clients. We equip our customer relationship team with the tools and technologies to resolve our clients’ needs, often in a single phone call. We have a strong focus on using first-call resolution as a key performance indicator of our customer support operation. In December 2018, 86% of our clients who called our customer relationship team had their problems resolved on the first call.

We generate revenues based on fees we charge for the services we provide. These include payment processing fees related to transaction activities and other services (which are typically charged as a percentage of the transaction amount or as a fixed amount per transaction), financial income related to prepayment financing



 

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fees and subscription and equipment rental fees, which accounted for 32.6%, 50.7% and 13.5%, respectively, of our revenues in 2018. The following is a summary of our key operational and financial highlights:

 

   

In 2018, we generated R$1,579.2 million of total revenue and income, compared to R$766.6 million of total revenue and income in 2017, representing annual growth of 106.0%.

 

   

As of December 31, 2018, we served approximately 267,900 active clients, compared to approximately 131,200 as of December 31, 2017, representing 104.2% annual growth.

 

   

In 2018, we generated net income of R$305.2 million and adjusted net income of R$342.8 million, compared to a loss of R$105.0 million and adjusted net income of R$45.1 million in 2017. See “Summary Financial and Other Information” for a reconciliation of adjusted net income (loss) to our profit (loss) for the period.

 

   

In 2018, we processed TPV of R$83.4 billion, compared to R$48.5 billion in 2017, representing 71.8% annual growth.

Our Market

We operate in Brazil, which is a large and fast-growing market for financial technology solutions. According to IBGE, Brazil GDP and Private Consumption Expenditures in 2018 were R$6.8 trillion and R$4.4 trillion, respectively, up from R$6.6 trillion and R$4.2 trillion, respectively, in 2017. According to Statista, retail e-commerce sales in Brazil excluding digitally distributed services and digital media downloads were approximately R$61.8 billion (based on the December 31, 2017 exchange rate) in 2017 and are expected to grow to approximately R$104.8 billion (based on the December 31, 2017 exchange rate) by 2022, representing a compound annual growth rate of 11%. According to the World Payments Report 2018, Brazil is the fourth largest market in the world for non-cash transaction volumes. The payments market has continued to grow and demonstrate resiliency to macroeconomic fluctuations in Brazil. During Brazil’s most recent economic recession from 2014 to 2017, nominal GDP grew at a compound growth of 4.3%, according to the World Bank. During the same period, electronic payments volume grew at a compound annual growth rate of 8.1%, according to ABECS.

Despite Brazil’s large size, we believe its payments market remains less penetrated and has greater growth upside than more mature economies. According to the World Bank and ABECS, electronic payments volume represented 28.4% of total household consumption in Brazil in 2016. This penetration percentage is lower than comparable measures of 46.0% and 68.6%, respectively, in the United States and the United Kingdom, during the same period, according to data from the World Bank and the Bank for International Settlements, or BIS. We believe Brazil has an increased opportunity for growth in digital payments compared to more mature economies. According to the World Bank, in 2017, 17.6% of the Brazilian population aged 15 and above used the internet to pay bills or made online purchases over the previous year, compared to 77.2% in the United States and 80.7% in the United Kingdom.

We believe there are various important trends that are impacting the growth and market opportunity for our services in Brazil. These include:

 

   

Increasing Use of Electronic Commerce—Commerce in Brazil is increasingly being transacted through electronic accounts, such as credit, debit, and prepaid cards, eWallets, and mobile devices instead of cash and checks.

 

   

Increasing Shift to Digital Channels—Consumers and merchants are increasingly conducting commerce through digital channels online and through mobile devices.

 

   

Growing Use of Omni-Channel Commerce—As a result of the growing use of electronic commerce and the increasing shift to digital channels, consumers and merchants are increasingly conducting commerce across more than one channel. Businesses are responding to increased consumer spending online and through mobile devices by increasing their e-commerce and mobile commerce capabilities.



 

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Expanding Use of Technology at the POS—As the costs of technology have decreased in Brazil, access to the internet has increased, and software has become easier to use, merchants are using more solutions, such as smart POS devices, integrated POS terminals, mobile devices, and specialized software applications to run their front-of-house operations and back-office functions.

 

   

Deployment of Technology Services is Changing—As a result of the growing use of omni-channel commerce and the expanding use of technology at the POS in Brazil, service providers are increasingly deploying technology in new ways, including through: (1) cloud-based solutions; (2) integrated software solutions; (3) mobile devices; and (4) third-party applications.

 

   

Deployment of Financial Services is Changing—As a result of these trends, the deployment of financial services is also changing. More financial services are being provided outside of traditional bank branches, such as at the point-of-sale or online, and more financial services are being provided by non-bank firms that are using technology to deliver these services more efficiently and conveniently.

 

   

More Open Regulatory Environment—The regulatory environment for the payments industry in Brazil has undergone significant changes in the past few years due to a concerted effort by the Central Bank and the Brazilian government to foster innovation and promote more open and fair competition. In 2010, the Central Bank and antitrust authorities initiated a series of measures that eliminated the exclusivity of certain vendors and opened up the market to new entrants. Since then, a new regulatory framework has been developed and government authorities have been fostering competition. We believe this has created an attractive environment for innovative financial technology providers, such as us, to continue to disrupt the market, bring better solutions to clients, and grow our market share.

 

   

Growing Market in Small and Medium-Sized Cities—We believe the incremental growth of electronic payments in Brazil will be significantly driven by commerce in small and medium cities. According to a 2015 McKinsey report, small and medium cities with populations between 20,000 and 500,000 inhabitants will account for more than 50% of total consumer spending growth in Brazil between 2015 and 2025. We believe this spending growth will be compounded by the continued shift to electronic payments to generate above-market growth rates for electronic payment volumes in Brazil.

As a result of these trends, we believe our market is undergoing significant change and our ecosystem is adapting to a number of business, technical and service challenges. We believe these challenges are also creating new opportunities for disruption and the deployment of new solutions and business models. We believe these challenges include the need for (1) an effective way to offer commerce solutions to SMBs across Brazil’s 5,500 cities, (2) more seamless omni-channel capabilities, (3) more powerful commerce-enabling solutions, (4) better integrated technology, (5) better and easier connectivity tools, (6) more advanced and robust technology platforms, and (7) faster and more specialized customer support.

We believe we are well-positioned to take advantage of these trends and opportunities, and to continue to disrupt the market, bring better solutions to clients, and grow our market share.

Our Competitive Strengths

We believe we have a dynamic mix of core competencies that significantly distinguish us from our main competitors in the Brazilian market. When combined, these competencies yield a powerful set of competitive strengths that have: (1) enabled us to disrupt legacy practices, older technologies, and incumbent vendors in the Brazilian market; (2) empowered us to launch other technology and financial services solutions; and (3) positioned us favorably to continue to grow our business and expand our addressable market.



 

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Our Unique Culture

We have proactively fostered and developed a highly-innovative, entrepreneurial, and mission-driven culture that we believe helps attract new talent, enables us to achieve our objectives, and provides a key competitive advantage. Our culture unites our team across numerous functions and focuses our collective efforts on passionately developing technology and implementing the Stone Business Model to disrupt legacy practices, older technologies, and incumbent vendors in order to provide solutions and a level of service that go beyond simply meeting the needs of our clients, and instead seeks to deliver an enhanced overall client experience. Our client-centric culture is built upon the following five themes, which we convey to our employees, employee candidates, clients and partners:

 

   

The Reason—Our culture is centered on the fundamental belief that our clients drive everything we do. We also emphasize to our clients that, like them, we have also worked hard to start and grow a new business. We believe that building and maintaining close and active relationships with our clients will improve our ability to innovate, expand our leadership in the market, and grow our business.

 

   

Own It—We expect that all employees present an “owner” mindset and use their intelligence to resolve problems with a primary focus on making our clients’ experience great. We constantly strive to recognize exceptional achievement.

 

   

No Bullshit—We encourage respectful candor in all interactions and aim to be straight to the point. We criticize ideas, not people. We expect our teams to always choose the correct path, not the quickest.

 

   

Team Play—We have learned that people achieve greater results together. We believe that more ideas flourish, are debated better, and questioned more effectively in teams. As a result, we strive to work together and constantly look for people with complementary skills to join our team.

 

   

Live the Ride—We believe we will evolve more effectively by trying new ideas and improving on them with energy and passion. New ideas need to be tested in a controlled way, and only scaled once they have demonstrated authentic promise.

Our Stone Business Model

Our Stone Business Model combines our proprietary assets, intellectual property, capabilities, and business processes to create a differentiated go-to-market approach and value proposition in the market. Our model is disruptive and has enabled us to gain significant traction in only four years since the launch of our service. We believe it provides us with several, sustainable competitive advantages that have enabled us to gain market share and will help us grow in the future, including:

 

   

Greater Understanding of Our Clients—We proactively interact with our clients and seek to understand their business needs in order to develop stronger relationships and serve them more effectively. We believe we are able to do this in a manner that differentiates us from our peers due to: (1) the close proximity to our clients provided by our Stone Hubs and Stone Missionaries; (2) the hands-on interactions and integrations with our e-commerce merchants and integrated partners provided by our Special Services team; and (3) the fast, high-touch, and personalized customer support provided by our in-house customer relationship management team and our local Green Angel teams. We believe these give us a greater understanding of our clients and their needs than our competitors.

 

   

Greater Ability to Serve Our Clients—The proprietary nature of our technology, distribution, and customer service assets, combined with their vertical integration within our Stone Business Model enable us to directly control the development, deployment, and support of our solutions and services. We believe this provides us with a greater ability to serve our clients versus competitors who outsource some or all of these capabilities and rely on third-party vendors that may not have the same client focus.



 

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Full Control of the Client Experience—The Stone Business Model also provides us with the ability to fully control the client experience that we provide. Our model ensures that all interactions are provided by our people and our technology. We believe this provides us with a greater ability to ensure that our clients are served with the high-quality solutions and premium service levels that seek to enhance their experience instead of just fulfilling a function. We believe this control enables us to build stronger relationships with our clients and deliver a superior value proposition versus competitors who do not have this type of control because they rely on third parties for portions of their technology, distribution, or customer service.

 

   

Greater Flexibility to Adapt and Innovate—Our Stone Business Model positions us to react quickly to competitive pressures through targeted, localized approaches. We believe the proprietary nature, vertical integration, and control our model provides enables us to adapt to a rapidly changing competitive environment with greater agility and flexibility than other competitors. We can understand our clients’ needs, design and develop new solutions, deploy them, and be prepared to support them quickly in order to meet the changing requirements of our markets.

 

   

Low Cost of Acquisition—We believe our model, combined with the power and efficiency of our fully-digital technology platform, enables us to leverage our hyper-local Stone Hubs and integrated partners to acquire new clients and upsell new solutions and services at a low marginal cost as compared to our competitors.

 

   

Low Cost of Operations—Our Stone Business Model enables us to operate with a low cost of operations and significant efficiencies. For example, because we developed our own end-to-end technology platform and do not rely on third-party vendors for processing and settlement, we operate with low marginal transaction costs.

 

   

Strong Lifetime Value—The combined attributes and benefits of the Stone Business Model enable us to provide high-quality service levels and build strong, local or highly-integrated, relationships with our clients who value our differentiated approach and value proposition. These enable us to: (1) resist competitive pressures; (2) retain our clients for longer periods; and (3) upsell new solutions to increase our wallet share. We believe this enables us to enhance the overall lifetime value of our client portfolio and maintain low marginal client acquisition costs.

 

   

Self-Reinforcing Network Effects—As we grow and expand our base of Stone Hubs, integrated partners, and suite of digital solutions, we benefit from self-reinforcing network effects. Our expanding base of Stone Hubs and integrated partners enable us to reach more merchants, who we can offer more solutions to. As we expand our base of merchants, integrated partners and new solutions, we are able to build stronger relationships with them and develop new learnings and market insights from them. We are able to use the Stone Business Model to act on these new insights to innovate, extend our value proposition, and win new merchants and integrated partners.

 

   

Protective Barriers to Replicate—The combination of the various proprietary and vertically-integrated elements of our Stone Business Model are difficult to replicate in full. We believe this provides us with strong protective barriers to entry which may make it difficult for our competitors to replicate our value proposition.

Our Deep Expertise and Track Record

Our founders and several members of our management team have deep expertise in developing and delivering disruptive financial solutions. The team has a proven track record of founding, investing, and scaling several successful financial technology businesses in Brazil, including Pagafacil, NetCredit, Braspag, PGTX, Sieve Group and Moip.



 

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Our board of directors is composed of highly successful senior executives who combine strong global operating, financial, and regulatory experience with deep expertise in the financial services, payments, and technology industries. In addition, we have attracted a strong base of world-class investors, many of whom have been key strategic advisors to the company and have consistently increased their investment in the group over our prior capital rounds. We believe the mix of our entrepreneurial, executive, board, and shareholder experience and expertise provide a key competitive strength for the company.

Our Growth Strategies

Our primary mission is to remain focused on empowering our clients to grow their businesses and help them conduct commerce and run their operations more effectively. We believe this focus is a key differentiator for us and an important driver in helping us win and retain clients. We try to achieve this by leveraging the Stone Business Model to combine and provide powerful and convenient technology, innovative solutions, and high-quality customer support through sales people and marketing efforts that match our passionate and energetic client-centric culture. We plan to grow our business primarily by employing the following principal strategies:

Extend Our Reach and Scale our Business

We believe our distribution is a key competitive strength that will enable us to expand our footprint and market penetration and continue to extend the reach of our business. For example, we intend to continue to:

 

   

Grow Our Base of Stone Hubs—We had 245 operational Stone Hubs across Brazil as of January 2019 and expect to continue to launch new hubs to increase our coverage and penetration of the market. Brazil has over 5,500 cities, many of which are underserved by incumbent providers who primarily target clients via their existing bank branch networks. We believe our strategy of targeting underserved, small-and-medium sized cities, combined with our speed and agility, provides us with a significant growth opportunity. Following the development of the Stone Hub, we have established highly-scalable, plug-and-play processes that enable us to deploy new hubs faster and more effectively, with more efficient hiring, training, and selling.

 

   

Grow Our Base of Integrated Partners—As of December 2018, we had 108 integrated partners, such as PSPs, marketplaces, and ISVs. We believe these integrated partners represent an important growth channel for us to capture more e-commerce and software-integrated payment volumes. We expect to continue to leverage our powerful connectivity and integration capabilities, including our Mundipagg gateway and Pagar.me PSP platform, to grow our base of integrated partners and help our existing clients grow their businesses.

 

   

Sell Additional Solutions to Our Clients—As in-store merchant locations continue to become digitalized, we believe our broad suite of solutions and our omni-channel commerce capabilities provide us with significant opportunity to sell additional existing solutions into our client base. We intend to leverage the strong relationships and distribution capabilities provided by our Stone Hubs to sell additional solutions to our merchant base with a view to minimizing incremental acquisition costs.

 

   

Sell to New Client Segments–Micro-Merchant Commerce—Despite targeting the SMB segment as our core strategy, we are deploying Stone Mais, an independently branded easy-to-use, out-of-the-box, and cost-effective solution, which combines point-of-sale technology with our payment acceptance services and a fully integrated digital wallet account and bank card to help the approximately 5.5 million micro-merchants in Brazil (according to Neoway data as of June 2018). This solution enables us to serve an additional client segment beyond our SMB focus.

Expand our Offering and Capabilities

We believe our culture of innovation and technology development combined with our distribution capabilities are key competitive strengths that will allow us to continue to expand our offerings and grow our



 

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business through a multi-product strategy. We intend to continue to leverage these capabilities to develop and invest in new solutions that further empower and help our clients grow their businesses more effectively, and new capabilities that enable us to better serve our clients by providing them with a centralized point of contact to solve most of their issues in a fast manner. We intend to expand our offerings to our current and future clients in the following ways:

 

   

Software Solutions—by integrating our payment offerings with software solutions, we believe we will improve the lifetime value of our client relationships, and obtain access to transactional data that will allow us to be more proactive in providing financial solutions such as working capital and credit. Approximately 14,000 clients use at least one type of software product we provide. We also aim to invest in new software opportunities to help merchants become more productive including opportunities to develop and deploy ERP software in other industry verticals. Recently, we entered into two binding memoranda of understanding to invest in VHSYS and Tablet Cloud, which will add nearly 18,000 software clients to our ecosystem.

 

   

Financial Solutions—we believe that there is a significant opportunity to provide our clients with additional financial solutions, given that those products, when offered by incumbents, present similar characteristics as payments: traditional players and legacy business models have limited focus on client service, transparency and innovation. We intend to leverage our distribution, service and technology capabilities to expand our offering of financial solutions and improve revenue yield per client.

Enter New Markets

We believe our Stone Business Model is well suited to serve clients in other markets where our technology, solutions, and support model can continue to disrupt traditional vendors and legacy business models. We believe this opportunity exists in new geographies and sectors. We are expanding our geographic footprint by growing our base of Stone Hubs across Brazil. In the future, we may also seek to grow our business by selectively expanding into new international markets where we can leverage our Stone Business Model. We are also exploring new complementary business opportunities in adjacent sectors, such as digital banking, software solutions and credit. In the future, we may selectively expand into other sectors where we see an opportunity to leverage our capabilities to provide a differentiated value proposition for clients.

Selectively Pursue Acquisitions

Although we are primarily focused on growing our business organically, we may selectively pursue strategic acquisitions to enhance our competitive position, improve our operations and expand our business. We may choose to acquire new technologies, expertise, volume and capabilities, enter new market segments or enter new geographies. We have established a track record of successfully investing, acquiring and integrating complementary solutions and businesses. For example, in 2016, we: (1) completed the EdB Acquisition, which added an attractive portfolio of SMB and e-commerce merchants onto our platform; (2) acquired full control of Pagar.me, which gave us our proprietary PSP service; and (3) acquired joint control of Equals, which gave us a powerful data reconciliation tool widely used in the markets we serve. We acquired full control of Equals in September 2018.

Recent Developments

Preliminary Results for First Quarter of 2019

Our financial results for the three months ended March 31, 2019 are not yet finalized. The following information reflects our preliminary results for this period:

Our TPV for the three months ended March 31, 2019 is expected to be between R$26.4 billion and R$26.5 billion, compared with R$16.5 billion for the three months ended March 31, 2018.



 

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Our number of active clients is expected to be between 305.9 thousand and 307.4 thousand at March 31, 2019, compared with 160.7 thousand at March 31, 2018.

Our take rate for the three months ended March 31, 2019 is expected to be between 1.84% and 1.85%, compared with 1.68% for the three months ended March 31, 2018.

Our total revenue and income for the three months ended March 31, 2019 is expected to be between R$530.0 million and R$533.0 million, compared with R$286.9 million for the three months ended March 31, 2018.

Our net income for the three months ended March 31, 2019 is expected to be between R$170.8 million and R$174.8 million, compared with R$24.7 million for the three months ended March 31, 2018.

Our adjusted net income for the three months ended March 31, 2019 is expected to be between R$180.0 million and R$184.0 million, compared with R$26.5 million for the three months ended March 31, 2018.

Adjusted net income is a non-IFRS measure within the rules of the SEC. The most closely comparable IFRS measure is net income. The following table reconciles adjusted net income to net income for the three months ending March 31, 2019 (estimated) and for the three months ended March 31, 2018 (actual). For more information, see “Summary Financial and Other Information.”

 

     For the Three Months Ended
March 31,
 
     2019
(Estimated)
    2018
(Actual)
 
     (R$ millions)  

Net income for the period

     170.8-174.8       24.7  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Share-based compensation expenses

     10.1       —    

Amortization of fair value adjustment on intangibles related to acquisitions

     3.8       2.7  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Pre-tax subtotal

     184.7-188.7       27.4  

Tax effect on adjustments

     (4.7     (0.9
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Adjusted net income

     180.0-184.0       26.5  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Cautionary Statement Regarding Preliminary Results

The results for the three months ended March 31, 2019 are preliminary, unaudited and subject to completion, reflect our management’s current views and may change as a result of our management’s review of our results and other factors, including economic and competitive risks and uncertainties. Such preliminary results for the three months ended March 31, 2019 are subject to the finalization and closing of our accounting books and records (which have yet to be performed), and should not be viewed as a substitute for full quarterly financial statements prepared in accordance with IFRS. We caution you that these preliminary results for the three months ended March 31, 2019 are not guarantees of future performance or outcomes and that actual results may differ materially from those described above. You should read this information together with the sections of this prospectus entitled “Selected Financial and Other Information” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” and our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus.

These preliminary results have been prepared by and are the sole responsibility of our management. Ernst & Young Auditores Independentes S.S. has not audited, reviewed, compiled or performed any procedures with respect to the accompanying preliminary financial data. Accordingly, Ernst & Young Auditores Independentes S.S. does not express an opinion or any other form of assurance with respect thereto.



 

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New Investments in Software

In March 2019, we signed two binding memoranda of understanding to invest in two new software companies, VHSYS and Tablet Cloud, which we believe will strengthen our ecosystem of solutions that empower SMBs to manage and grow their businesses. Below of a description of these companies.

 

   

VHSYS is an omni-channel, cloud-based, API driven, POS and ERP platform built to serve an array of service and retail businesses. The self-service platform consists of over 40 applications, accessible a la carte, such as order and sales management, invoicing, dynamic inventory management, cash and payments management, CRM, mobile messaging, along with marketplace, logistics, and e-commerce integrations, among others.

 

   

Tablet Cloud is a white-label POS and simple ERP application focused on SMBs with simpler needs which runs on smart POS and tablet solutions, giving business owners complete control over their cash register and inventory in a fully mobile device while having a robust ERP platform accessible online.

Together, VHSYS and Tablet Cloud add nearly 18,000 software clients. We expect that these new solutions will assist us in our continued efforts to help clients better manage their operations, and drive omni-channel growth, giving brick and mortar establishments the tools they need to successfully sell both online and offline.

Summary of Risk Factors

Investing in our Class A common shares involves risks. You should carefully consider the risks described in the “Risk Factors” beginning on page 21 before making a decision to invest in our Class A common shares. If any of these risks actually occur, our business, financial condition or results of operations would likely be materially adversely affected. In such case, the trading price of our Class A common shares would likely decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment. The following is a summary of some of the principal risks we face:

Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry

 

   

If we cannot keep pace with rapid developments and change in our industry and continue to acquire new merchants as rapidly, the use of our services could decline, reducing our revenues.

 

   

Unauthorized disclosure, destruction or modification of data, through cybersecurity breaches, computer viruses or otherwise or disruption of our services could expose us to liability, protracted and costly litigation and damage our reputation.

 

   

Substantial and increasingly intense competition, both within our industry and from other payments methods, may harm our business.

 

   

If we fail to manage our growth effectively, our business could be harmed.

 

   

Our systems and our third party providers’ systems may fail due to factors beyond our control, which could interrupt our service, cause us to lose business and increase our costs.

 

   

In the past, we and our independent registered public accounting firm identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting and, if we fail to maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting, we may be unable to accurately report our results of operations, meet our reporting obligations or prevent fraud.

 

   

Our business has generated losses, and we intend to continue to make significant investments in our business. Thus, our results of operations and operating metrics may fluctuate and we may continue to generate losses in the future.



 

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If we cannot pass along increases in fees from payment schemes, including assessment, interchange, transaction and other fees, to our merchants, our operating margins will decline.

 

   

Our business is subject to extensive government regulation and oversight in Brazil and our status under these regulations may change. Violation of or compliance with present or future regulation could be costly, expose us to substantial liability and force us to change our business practices.

Risks Relating to Brazil

 

   

The Brazilian federal government has exercised, and continues to exercise, significant influence over the Brazilian economy. This involvement, as well as Brazil’s political and economic conditions.

 

   

Political instability and economic uncertainty in Brazil, including in relation to country-wide corruption probes, may adversely affect the price of our Class A common shares and our business, operations and financial condition.

 

   

Inflation and certain measures by the Brazilian government to curb inflation have historically harmed the Brazilian economy and Brazilian capital markets, and high levels of inflation in the future could harm our business.

 

   

Exchange rate instability may have adverse effects on the Brazilian economy and us.

Risks Relating to Our Class A Common Shares and the Offering

 

   

Sales of substantial amounts of our Class A common shares in the public market, or the perception that these sales may occur, could cause the market price of our Class A common shares to decline.

 

   

Upon consummation of this offering, our founders and their affiliates (the “founder shareholders”) will, in the aggregate, own less than 1.0% of our outstanding Class A common shares and 58.7% of our outstanding Class B common shares, resulting in their ownership of 27.9% of our outstanding common shares, and, consequently, to 52.2% of the combined voting power of our common shares, and will control all matters requiring shareholder approval. Our founder shareholders also have the right to nominate a majority of our board and consent rights over certain corporate transactions. This concentration of ownership limits your ability to influence corporate matters.

 

   

We are a Cayman Islands exempted company with limited liability. The rights of our shareholders may be different from the rights of shareholders governed by the laws of U.S. jurisdictions.



 

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Our Corporate Structure

A simplified organizational chart showing our corporate structure is set forth below.

 

LOGO

 

(1)

Ownership interests in these entities not held by Stone Co. or its affiliates are held by the original founders of such businesses.

(2)

Formerly known as Elavon do Brasil Soluções de Pagamento S.A.

(3)

This percentage does not take into account treasury shares.

Corporate Information

Our principal executive offices are located at R. Fidêncio Ramos, 308, Torre A, 10th floor, Vila Olímpia, São Paulo—SP, 04551-010, Brazil. Our telephone number at this address is +55 (11) 3004-9680.

Investors should contact us for any inquiries through the address and telephone number of our principal executive office. Our principal website is www.stone.co. The information contained in, or accessible through, our website is not incorporated by reference in, and should not be considered part of, this prospectus.

Implications of Being an Emerging Growth Company

As a company with less than $1.07 billion in revenue during our last fiscal year, we qualify as an “emerging growth company” as defined in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, or the JOBS Act. An emerging growth company may take advantage of specified exemptions from various requirements that are otherwise applicable generally to public companies in the United States. These provisions include:

 

   

the ability to present more limited financial data for our IPO, including presenting only two years of audited financial statements and only two years of selected financial data, as well as only two years of related management’s discussion and analysis of financial condition and results of operations disclosure;



 

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an exemption from the auditor attestation requirement in the assessment of our internal control over financial reporting pursuant to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002; and

 

   

to the extent that we no longer qualify as a foreign private issuer, (1) reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports and proxy statements and (2) exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation, including golden parachute compensation.

We may take advantage of certain of these provisions for up to five years following our initial public offering or such earlier time that we are no longer an emerging growth company. We will remain an emerging growth company until the earlier of (1) the last day of the fiscal year (a) following the fifth anniversary of the completion of our initial public offering, (b) in which we have total annual revenues of at least US$1.07 billion, or (c) in which we are deemed to be a large accelerated filer, which means the market value of our Class A common shares that is held by non-affiliates exceeds US$700 million as of the prior June 30th, and (2) the date on which we have issued more than US$1.0 billion in non-convertible debt during the prior three-year period. We may choose to take advantage of some but not all of the above-described provisions. For example, Section 107 of the JOBS Act provides that an emerging growth company can use the extended transition period provided in Section 7(a)(2)(B) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act, for complying with new or revised accounting standards. Given that we currently report and expect to continue to report under IFRS, as issued by the IASB, we have irrevocably elected not to avail ourselves of any extended transition period provided for by IFRS and, as a result, we will adopt new or revised accounting standards on the relevant dates on which adoption of such standards is required by the IASB. We have taken advantage of reduced reporting requirements in this prospectus. Accordingly, the information contained herein may be different than the information you receive from other public companies. References to an “emerging growth company” in this prospectus shall have the meaning associated with that term in the JOBS Act.



 

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THE OFFERING

This summary highlights information presented in greater detail elsewhere in this prospectus. This summary is not complete and does not contain all the information you should consider before investing in our Class A common shares. You should carefully read this entire prospectus before investing in our Class A common shares including “Risk Factors” and our consolidated financial statements.

 

Class A common shares offered by the selling shareholders

17,950,000 shares (or 20,642,500 shares if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares).

 

Class A common shares to be outstanding immediately after this offering

143,617,197 shares (or 146,309,697 shares if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares).

 

Class B common shares to be outstanding immediately after this offering

133,779,085 shares (or 131,086,585 shares if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares).

 

Total common shares to be outstanding immediately after this offering

277,396,282 shares (including if the underwriters exercise in full their option to purchase additional shares).

 

Voting rights

Holders of our Class A common shares are entitled to one vote per share, and the holders of our Class B common shares are entitled to 10 votes per share.

 

  Each Class B common share may be converted into one share of Class A common shares at the option of the holder.

 

  If, on the record date for any meeting of the shareholders, the aggregate voting power of Class B common shares then outstanding is less than 10% of the aggregate voting power of Class A common shares and Class B common shares outstanding, then each Class B common share will automatically convert into one Class A common share.

 

  In addition, each Class B common share will convert automatically into one Class A common share upon any transfer, except for certain transfers to other holders of Class B common shares or their affiliates or to certain unrelated third parties as described under “Description of Share Capital and Constitutional Documents—Conversion” and “Description of Share Capital and Constitutional Documents—Transfer of Shares.”

 

  Holders of Class A common shares and Class B common shares will vote together as a single class on all matters unless otherwise required by law.


 

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  Upon consummation of this offering, assuming no exercise of the underwriters’ option to purchase additional shares, (1) holders of Class A common shares will hold approximately 9.7% of the combined voting power of our outstanding common shares and approximately 51.8% of our total equity ownership and (2) holders of Class B common shares will hold approximately 90.3% of the combined voting power of our outstanding common shares and approximately 48.2% of our total equity ownership.

 

  If the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional shares in full, (1) holders of Class A common shares will hold approximately 10.0% of the combined voting power of our outstanding common shares and approximately 52.7% of our total equity ownership and (2) holders of Class B common shares will hold approximately 90.0% of the combined voting power of our outstanding common shares and approximately 47.3% of our total equity ownership.

 

  The rights of the holders of Class A common shares and Class B common shares are identical, except with respect to voting, conversion, and transfer restrictions applicable to the Class B common shares. See “Description of Share Capital and Constitutional Documents” for a description of the material terms of our common shares.

 

Option to purchase additional shares

The selling shareholders have granted the underwriters the right to purchase up to an additional 2,692,500 Class A common shares within 30 days of the date of this prospectus, at the public offering price, less underwriting discounts, on the same terms as set forth in this prospectus.

 

Listing

Our Class A common shares are listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, or Nasdaq, under the symbol “STNE.”

 

Use of proceeds

The selling shareholders will receive all of the net proceeds from the offering. We will not receive any proceeds from the sale of Class A common shares by the selling shareholders.

 

Dividend policy

The amount of any distributions will depend on applicable law and many other factors, such as our results of operations, financial condition, cash requirements, prospects and other factors deemed relevant by our board of directors and shareholders. We do not anticipate paying any cash dividends in the foreseeable future.

 

Lock-up agreements

We have agreed with the underwriters, subject to certain exceptions, not to offer, sell, or dispose of any shares of our share capital or securities convertible into or exchangeable or exercisable for any shares of our share capital during the 90-day period following the date of this prospectus. The members of our board of directors and our executive officers, as well as our selling shareholders, have agreed to substantially similar lock-up provisions, subject to certain exceptions.


 

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Risk factors

See “Risk Factors” and the other information included in this prospectus for a discussion of factors you should consider before deciding to invest in our Class A common shares.

The number of Class A and Class B common shares to be outstanding after this offering is based on 277,179,999 common shares outstanding as of March 26, 2019 and includes the issuance of (i) 180,628 Class A common shares underlying outstanding RSUs that will vest in connection with this offering, and (ii) 35,655 Class A common shares to our founder shareholders as anti-dilutive shares pro rata upon the vesting of such RSUs.

The number of Class A and Class B common shares to be outstanding after this offering excludes:

 

   

823,914 Class A common shares that may be issued following this offering under our 2018 Omnibus Equity Plan. See “Management—Long-Term Incentive Plans (LTIP)—2018 Omnibus Equity Plan;”

 

   

the issuance of 4,933,822 Class A common shares issuable upon the settlement of outstanding RSUs granted under the 2018 Omnibus Equity Plan. See “Management—Long-Term Incentive Plans (LTIP);”

 

   

the issuance of 135,198 Class A common shares issuable upon the exercise of outstanding share options (with a weighted average exercise price of $24.00) granted under the 2018 Omnibus Equity Plan. See “Management—Long-Term Incentive Plans (LTIP);” and

 

   

the issuance of 1,157,314 Class A common shares reserved as anti-dilutive shares to be issued to our founder shareholders pro-rata upon vesting of the granted RSUs and share option awards.

Unless otherwise indicated, all information contained in this prospectus assumes no exercise of the option granted to the underwriters to purchase up to 2,692,500 additional Class A common shares, in connection with the offering.

When the selling shareholders consummate sales of Class B common shares in this offering, the Class B common shares sold will automatically convert into Class A common shares on a share-for-share basis. As a result, purchasers of our common shares in this offering will only receive Class A common shares, and only Class A common shares are being offered by this prospectus. Class B common shares that are not sold by the selling shareholders will remain Class B common shares unless otherwise converted into Class A common shares. See “Description of Share Capital and Constitutional Documents.”



 

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SUMMARY FINANCIAL AND OTHER INFORMATION

The following tables set forth, for the periods and as of the dates indicated, our summary financial and other information. This information should be read in conjunction with “Presentation of Financial and Other Information,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements, including the notes thereto, included elsewhere in this prospectus.

The summary statement of profit or loss data and statement of financial position data as of December 31, 2018 and 2017 and for each of the three years ended December 31, 2018 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements prepared in accordance with IFRS as issued by the IASB, included elsewhere in this prospectus. The statement of financial position date as of December 31, 2016, is derived from our audited consolidated financial statements previously filed.

 

     For the Year Ended December 31,  
     2018      2018     2017     2016  
     (US$)(1)      (R$)  
     (in millions, except amounts per share)  

Statement of profit or loss data:

         

Net revenue from transaction activities and other services

     132.8        514.6       224.2       121.1  

Net revenue from subscription services and equipment rental

     55.1        213.7       105.0       54.7  

Financial income

     206.8        801.3       412.2       247.4  

Other financial income

     12.8        49.6       25.3       16.7  
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total revenue and income

     407.5        1,579.2       766.6       439.9  
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Cost of services

     (83.4      (323.0     (224.1     (133.2

Administrative expenses

     (65.3      (252.9     (174.6     (106.1

Selling expenses

     (49.1      (190.2     (92.0     (49.5

Financial expenses, net

     (77.7      (301.1     (237.1     (244.7

Other operating income (expense), net

     (17.9      (69.3     (134.2     (55.7

(Loss) income from investment in associates

     (0.1      (0.4     (0.3     0.1  
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Profit (loss) before income taxes

     114.2        442.3       (95.7     (149.2
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income tax and social contribution

     (35.4      (137.1     (9.3     27.0  
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net income (loss) for the year

     78.8        305.2       (105.0     (122.2
  

 

 

    

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net income (loss) attributable to non-controlling interests

     1.0        4.0       3.8       (2.4

Net income (loss) attributable to owners of the parent

     77.7        301.2       (108.7     (119.8

Basic earnings (loss) per share(2)

   US$ 0.34      R$ 1.30     R$ (0.49   R$ (0.61

Diluted earnings (loss) per share(2)

   US$ 0.33      R$ 1.29     R$ (0.49   R$ (0.61

Other data:

         

Adjusted net income (loss) (in millions)(3)

   US$ 88.5      R$ 342.8     R$ 45.1     R$ (51.9

TPV (in billions)

   US$ 21.5      R$ 83.4     R$ 48.5     R$ 28.1  

Active clients (in thousands)

     n/a        267.9       131.2       82.0  

Take rate

     n/a        1.83     1.53     1.51

 

(1)

For convenience purposes only, amounts in reais for the year ended December 31, 2018 have been translated to U.S. dollars using an exchange rate of R$3.875 to US$1.00, the commercial selling rate for U.S. dollars as of December 31, 2018 as reported by the Central Bank. These translations should not be



 

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  considered representations that any such amounts have been, could have been or could be converted at that or any other exchange rate. See “Exchange Rates” for further information about recent fluctuations in exchange rates.
(2)

Calculated by dividing net income or loss for the period/year attributed to the owners of the parent, adjusted for losses allocated to contractual rights and participating instruments, by the weighted average number of ordinary shares outstanding during the period. See note 23 to our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus.

(3)

In the table below, we have provided a reconciliation of adjusted net income (loss) to our net income (loss) for the period/year, the most directly comparable financial measure calculated and presented in accordance with IFRS.

 

     For the Year Ended December 31,  
     2018      2018      2017      2016  
     (US$ millions)(a)      (R$ millions)  

Net income (loss) for the year

     78.8        305.2        (105.0      (122.2
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Share-based compensation expenses(b)

     15.7        60.8        138.9        53.1  

Amortization of fair value adjustment on intangibles related to acquisitions(c)

     3.3        12.6        14.8        17.2  

Fair value adjustments of assets whose control was acquired(d)

     (5.5      (21.4      —          —    

One-time impairment charges(e)

     2.2        8.4        —          —    
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Pre-tax subtotal

     94.4        365.7        48.7        (51.9

Tax effect on adjustments(f)

     (5.9      (22.8      (3.6      —    
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Adjusted net income (loss)

     88.5        342.8        45.1        (51.9
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

(a)

For convenience purposes only, amounts in reais for the year ended December 31, 2018 have been translated to U.S. dollars using an exchange rate of R$3.875 to US$1.00, the commercial selling rate for U.S. dollars as of December 31, 2018 as reported by the Central Bank. These translations should not be considered representations that any such amounts have been, could have been or could be converted at that or any other exchange rate. See “Exchange Rates” for further information about recent fluctuations in exchange rates.

(b)

Consists of non-cash expenses related to the grant of share-based compensation, as well as fair value (mark-to-market) adjustments for share-based compensation expense classified as a liability in our consolidated financial statements. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Significant Factors Affecting our Results of Operations—Liability-classified share-based compensation expense” and note 26 to our consolidated financial statements for further information.

(c)

Consists of expenses resulting from the amortization of the fair value adjustment on intangible assets and property and equipment as a result of the application of the acquisition method, a significant portion of which relate to the EdB Acquisition and the Equals acquisition. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Significant Factors Affecting our Results of Operations—EdB Acquisition” for further information.

(d)

Consists of the gain on re-measurement of our previously held equity interest in Equals to fair value upon the date control was acquired.

(e)

Consists of (1) impairment charges associated with certain processing system intangible assets acquired in the EdB Acquisition that we no longer use, in an amount of R$6.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 and (2) impairment associated with improvements made to certain leased office space upon the termination of the lease, in an amount of R$2.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2018.

(f)

Represents the tax effect of pre-tax items excluded from adjusted net income (loss). The tax effect of pre-tax items excluded from adjusted net income (loss) is computed using the statutory rate related to the



 

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  jurisdiction that was impacted by the adjustment after taking into account the impact of permanent differences and valuation allowances.

 

     As of December 31,  
     2018      2018      2017      2016  
     (US$ millions)(1)      (R$ millions)  

Statement of financial position data:

           

Assets

           

Current assets

           

Cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments

     791.9        3,068.5        843.7        237.0  

Accounts receivable from card issuers

     2,385.7        9,244.6        5,078.4        3,052.6  

Other current assets

     32.2        124.7        77.4        29.5  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total current assets

     3,209.8        12,437.8        5,999.5        3,319.1  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total non-current assets

     220.8        855.4        636.2        520.2  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total assets

     3,430.5        13,293.2        6,635.7        3,839.2  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Liabilities and Equity

           

Current liabilities

           

Accounts payable to clients

     1,289.3        4,996.1        3,637.5        3,029.3  

Other current liabilities

     273.2        1,058.7        186.1        92.6  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total current liabilities

     1,562.5        6,054.8        3,823.6        3,121.9  

Non-current liabilities

           

Obligations to FIDC senior quota holders

     531.1        2,057.9        2,056.3        —    

Other non-current liabilities

     22.6        87.6        273.3        130.1  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total non-current liabilities

     553.7        2,145.5        2,329.6        130.1  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total liabilities

     2,116.2        8,200.2        6,153.2        3,252.0  

Total equity

     1,314.3        5,093.0        482.6        587.2  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total liabilities and equity

     3,430.5        13,293.2        6,635.7        3,839.2  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

(1)

For convenience purposes only, amounts in reais for the year ended December 31, 2018 have been translated to U.S. dollars using an exchange rate of R$3.875 to US$1.00, the commercial selling rate for U.S. dollars as of December 31, 2018 as reported by the Central Bank. These translations should not be considered representations that any such amounts have been, could have been or could be converted at that or any other exchange rate. See “Exchange Rates” for further information about recent fluctuations in exchange rates.



 

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RISK FACTORS

An investment in our Class A common shares involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties described below and the other information in this prospectus before you decide to purchase our Class A common shares. In particular, investing in the securities of issuers whose operations are located in emerging market countries such as Brazil involves a higher degree of risk than investing in the securities of issuers whose operations are located in the United States or other more developed countries. If any of the risks discussed in this prospectus actually occurs, alone or together with additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us, or that we currently deem immaterial, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects may be materially adversely affected. If this were to occur, the value of our Class A common shares may decline and you may lose all or part of your investment.

Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry

If we cannot keep pace with rapid developments and change in our industry and continue to acquire new merchants as rapidly as in the past, the use of our services could decline, reducing our revenues.

The electronic payments market in which we compete is subject to rapid and significant changes. This market is characterized by rapid technological change, new product and service introductions, evolving industry standards, changing client needs and the entrance of non-traditional competitors. In order to remain competitive and continue to acquire new merchants rapidly, we are continually involved in a number of projects to develop new services or compete with these new market entrants, including the development of mobile phone payment applications, e-commerce services, digital banking, ERP, digital wallet account and bank card, prepaid card offerings, credit offerings, and other new offerings emerging in the electronic payments industry. These projects carry risks, such as cost overruns, delays in delivery, performance problems and lack of client adoption. Any delay in the delivery of new services or the failure to differentiate our services or to accurately predict and address market demand could render our services less desirable, or even obsolete, to our clients. Furthermore, even though the market for alternative payment processing services is evolving, it may not continue to develop rapidly enough for us to recover the costs we have incurred in developing new services targeted at this market.

In addition, the services we deliver are designed to process very complex transactions and provide reports and other information concerning those transactions, all at high volumes and processing speeds. Any failure to deliver an effective and secure service or any performance issue that arises with a new service could result in significant processing or reporting errors or other losses. As a result of these factors, our development efforts could result in increased costs and/or we could also experience a loss in business that could reduce our earnings or could cause a loss of revenue if promised new services are not timely delivered to our clients or do not perform as anticipated. We also rely in part, and may in the future rely in part, on third parties, including some of our competitors and potential competitors, for the development of, and access to, new technologies. Our future success will depend in part on our ability to develop or adapt to technological changes and evolving industry standards. We cannot predict the effects of technological changes on our business. If we are unable to develop, adapt to or access technological changes or evolving industry standards on a timely and cost-effective basis, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected.

Furthermore, our competitors may have the ability to devote more financial and operational resources than we can to the development of new technologies and services, including e-commerce and mobile payment processing services, that provide improved operating functionality and features to their existing service offerings. If successful, their development efforts could render our services less desirable to clients, resulting in the loss of clients or a reduction in the fees we could generate from our offerings.

 

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Unauthorized disclosure, destruction or modification of data, through cybersecurity breaches, computer viruses or otherwise or disruption of our services could expose us to liability, protracted and costly litigation and damage our reputation.

Our business involves the collection, storage, processing and transmission of customers’ personal data, including names, addresses, identification numbers, credit or debit card numbers and expiration dates and bank account numbers. An increasing number of organizations, including large merchants and businesses, other large technology companies, financial institutions and government institutions, have disclosed breaches of their information technology systems, some of which have involved sophisticated and highly targeted attacks, including on portions of their websites or infrastructure. We could also be subject to breaches of security by hackers. Threats may derive from human error, fraud or malice on the part of employees or third parties, or may result from accidental technological failure. For example, in October 2018, an individual or individuals publicly disclosed portions of certain non-material source code from the proprietary software used in our Pagar.me PSP solution and Stone Pagamentos S.A., or Stone Pagamentos, platforms that we had privately hosted on a third-party code development website. Concerns about security are increased when we transmit information. Electronic transmissions can be subject to attack, interception or loss. Also, computer viruses and malware can be distributed and spread rapidly over the internet and could infiltrate our systems or those of our associated participants, which can impact the confidentiality, integrity and availability of information, and the integrity and availability of our products, services and systems, among other effects. Denial of service or other attacks could be launched against us for a variety of purposes, including interfering with our services or creating a diversion for other malicious activities. These types of actions and attacks could disrupt our delivery of products and services or make them unavailable, which could damage our reputation, force us to incur significant expenses in remediating the resulting impacts, expose us to uninsured liability, subject us to lawsuits, fines or sanctions, distract our management or increase our costs of doing business.

In the scope of our activities, we share information with third parties, including commercial partners, third-party service providers and other agents, which we refer to collectively as “associated participants,” who collect, process, store and transmit sensitive data. Given the rules established by the payment scheme settlors, such as Visa and Mastercard, and applicable regulations, we may be held responsible for any failure or cybersecurity breaches attributed to these third parties insofar as they relate to the information we share with them. The loss, destruction or unauthorized modification of data of the end users of payment services (e.g., payers, receivers, cardholders, merchants, and those who may hold funds and balance in their accounts) by us or our associated participants or through systems we provide could result in significant fines, sanctions and proceedings or actions against us by the payment schemes, governmental bodies or third parties, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Any such proceeding or action, and any related indemnification obligation, could damage our reputation, force us to incur significant expenses in defense of these proceedings, distract our management, increase our costs of doing business or result in the imposition of financial liability.

Our encryption of data and other protective measures may not prevent unauthorized access or use of sensitive data. A breach of our system or that of one of our associated participants may subject us to material losses or liability, including payment scheme fines, assessments and claims for unauthorized purchases with misappropriated credit, debit or card information, impersonation or other similar fraud claims. A misuse of such data or a cybersecurity breach could harm our reputation and deter merchants from using electronic payments generally and our products and services specifically, thus reducing our revenue. In addition, any such misuse or breach could cause us to incur costs to correct the breaches or failures, expose us to uninsured liability, increase our risk of regulatory scrutiny, subject us to lawsuits, and result in the imposition of material penalties and fines under state and federal laws or regulations or by the payment schemes. In addition, a significant cybersecurity breach of our systems or communications could result in payment schemes prohibiting us from processing transactions on their schemes or the loss of Central Bank authorization to operate as a payment institution (instituição de pagamento) in Brazil, which could materially impede our ability to conduct business. While we maintain insurance policies to address certain risks associated with cyber attacks, such insurance coverage may be insufficient to cover all losses or types of claims that may arise.

 

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We cannot assure that there are written agreements in place with every associated participant or that such written agreements will prevent the unauthorized use, modification, destruction or disclosure of data or enable us to obtain reimbursement from associated participants in the event we should suffer incidents resulting in unauthorized use, modification, destruction or disclosure of data. In addition, many of our associated participants are small- and medium-sized agents that have limited competency regarding data security and handling requirements and may thus experience data losses. Any unauthorized use, modification, destruction or disclosure of data could result in protracted and costly litigation, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Cybersecurity incidents are increasing in frequency and evolving in nature and include, but are not limited to, installation of malicious software, unauthorized access to data and other electronic security breaches that could lead to disruptions in systems, unauthorized release of confidential or otherwise protected information and the corruption of data. Given the unpredictability of the timing, nature and scope of information technology disruptions, there can be no assurance that the procedures and controls we employ will be sufficient to prevent security breaches from occurring and we could be subject to manipulation or improper use of our systems and networks or financial losses from remedial actions, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Substantial and increasingly intense competition, both within our industry and from other payments methods, may harm our business.

The market for payment processing services is highly competitive. Other providers of payment processing services have established a sizable market share in the small and mid-sized merchant processing and servicing sector, which are the markets in which we are principally focused, as well as servicing large merchants. Our growth will depend on a combination of the continued growth of electronic payments and our ability to increase our market share.

Our primary competitors include traditional merchant acquirers such as affiliates of financial institutions and well-established payment processing companies, including Cielo S.A., a company controlled by Banco Bradesco S.A. and Banco do Brasil S.A.; Redecard S.A., a subsidiary of Itaú Unibanco Holding SA; and Getnet Adquirência e Serviços para Meios de Pagamento S.A. (Santander Getnet), a subsidiary of Banco Santander (Brasil) S.A. Our other competitors include other payment processing companies, such as PagSeguro Digital Ltd.; First Data Corporation; Global Payments – Serviços de Pagamentos S.A., a subsidiary of Global Payments Inc.; Banrisul Cartões S.A. (known as Vero), a subsidiary of Banrisul S.A.; Adyen B.V.; and SafraPay, a unit of Banco Safra S.A. We also face competition from non-traditional payment processors that have significant financial resources and develop different kinds of services. Additionally, we may also face competition from traditional and established financial institutions, such as credit lendors that have significant financial resources and Brazilian credit industry experience.

Our competitors that are affiliated with financial institutions may not incur the sponsorship costs we incur for registration with the payment schemes, some of which are affiliated with our competitors. Many of our competitors also have substantially greater financial, technological, operational and marketing resources than we have. Accordingly, these competitors may be able to offer more attractive fees to our current and prospective clients, especially our competitors that are affiliated with financial institutions. If competition causes us to reduce the fees we charge for our services, we will need to aggressively control our costs in order to maintain our profit margins and our revenues may be adversely affected. In particular, we may need to reduce the fees we charge in order to maintain market share, as merchants may demand more customized and favorable pricing from us. We may also decide to terminate client relationships which may no longer be profitable to us due to such pricing pressure. For instance, in connection with the EdB Acquisition and its associated merchant base, we discontinued certain client relationships that were not profitable to our business. Furthermore, our ability to control our costs is limited because we are subject to fixed transaction costs related to payment schemes. Competition could also result in a loss of existing clients, and greater difficulty in attracting new clients. One or more of these factors could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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Degradation of the quality of the products and services we offer, including support services, could adversely affect our ability to attract and retain merchants and partners.

Our merchants expect a consistent level of quality in the provision of our products and services. The support services that we provide are also a key element of the value proposition to our clients. If the reliability or functionality of our products and services is compromised or the quality of those products or services is otherwise degraded, or if we fail to continue to provide a high level of support, we could lose existing merchants and find it harder to attract new merchants and partners. If we are unable to scale our support functions to address the growth of our merchant and partner network, the quality of our support may decrease, which could adversely affect our ability to attract and retain merchants and partners.

If we fail to manage our growth effectively, our business could be harmed.

In order to manage our growth effectively, we must continue to strengthen our existing infrastructure, develop and improve our internal controls, create and improve our reporting systems, and timely address issues as they arise. These efforts may require substantial financial expenditures, commitments of resources, developments of our processes, and other investments and innovations. Furthermore, we encourage employees to quickly develop and launch new features for our products and services. As we grow, we may not be able to execute as quickly as smaller, more efficient organizations. If we do not successfully manage our growth, our business will suffer.

Our systems and our third party providers’ systems may fail due to factors beyond our control, which could interrupt our service, cause us to lose business and increase our costs.

We depend on the efficient and uninterrupted operation of numerous systems, including our computer systems, software, data centers and telecommunications networks, as well as the systems of third parties. Our systems and operations or those of our third-party providers, could be exposed to damage or interruption from, among other things, fire, natural disaster, power loss, telecommunications failure, unauthorized entry and computer viruses. We do not maintain insurance policies specifically for property and business interruptions. Defects in our systems or those of third parties, errors or delays in the processing of payment transactions, telecommunications failures or other difficulties could result in:

 

   

loss of revenues; including subscription revenues owed from equipment rentals;

 

   

loss of clients;

 

   

loss of merchant and cardholder data;

 

   

loss of licenses with Visa, Mastercard or other payment schemes;

 

   

fines imposed by payment scheme associations and other issues relating to non-compliance with applicable payment scheme requirements;

 

   

a failure to receive, or loss of, Central Bank authorizations to operate as a payment institution (instituição de pagamento) or as a payment scheme settlor (instituidor de arranjo de pagamento) in Brazil;

 

   

fines or other penalties imposed by the Central Bank, as well as other measures taken by the Central Bank, including intervention, temporary special management systems, the imposition of insolvency proceedings, and/or the out-of-court liquidation of Stone Pagamentos and any of our subsidiaries to whom licenses may be granted in the future;

 

   

fines or other penalties imposed by the recently created National Data Protection Authority (Autoridade Nacional de Proteção de Dados or “ANPD”);

 

   

harm to our business or reputation resulting from negative publicity;

 

   

exposure to fraud losses or other liabilities;

 

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additional operating and development costs; and/or

 

   

diversion of technical and other resources.

In particular, we rely heavily on our subsidiary, Buy4 Processamento de Pagamentos S.A., or Buy4, to provide transaction authorization and settlement, computing, storage, processing and other related services. Any disruption of or interference with our use of Buy4 services could negatively affect our operations and seriously harm our business. Buy4 provides software and systems to process the authorization and settlement of credit card and debit card transactions, and provides other products and services to our merchant base. Buy4 has experienced, and may experience in the future, interruptions, delays or outages in service availability due to a variety of factors, including infrastructure changes, human or software errors, hosting disruptions and capacity constraints. Capacity constraints could arise from a number of causes such as technical failures, natural disasters, fraud or security attacks. The level of service provided by Buy4, or regular or prolonged interruptions in the services provided by Buy4, could also impact the use of, and our clients’ satisfaction with, our products and services and could harm its business and reputation. To the extent Buy4 begins offering its services to other payment processors or others, the frequency of interruptions, delays or outages in service availability may increase. In addition, hosting costs will increase as our user base and user engagement grows. This could materially and adversely affect our business if our revenues do not increase faster than hosting costs.

In the past, we and our independent registered public accounting firm identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting and, if we fail to maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting, we may be unable to accurately report our results of operations, meet our reporting obligations or prevent fraud.

Prior to our initial public offering, we were a private company with limited accounting personnel and other resources to address our internal control over financial reporting and procedures. Our management has not completed an assessment of the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting and our independent registered public accounting firm has not conducted an audit of our internal control over financial reporting. In connection with the audit of our consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2017 and 2016, we and our independent registered public accounting firm identified a number of material weaknesses in our internal controls over financial reporting as of December 31, 2017 and 2016. Specifically, the following controls were not fully effective: (i) inaccuracies in our treatment of the measurement of and recognition of deferred income and social contribution taxes due to a lack of experienced personnel; (ii) inadequate controls around the monthly closing process which resulted in the need to make adjustments to historical financial statements; (iii) inaccuracies in our treatment of stock-based compensation due to a lack of experienced personnel; (iv) errors in our application of acquisition accounting policies to our acquisition of Elavon due to a lack of experienced personnel; (v) inaccuracies in our treatment of related party transactions due to the lack of a process for their identification and disclosure; and (vi) lack of procedures and controls for (a) the change management process, (b) granting access to our accounting systems, (c) revoking access for terminated personnel, (d) managing access for transferred and promoted employees, (e) periodically reviewing the profiles of those with access, (f) segregating access between development and production environments and (g) monitoring, logging and tracking access to our systems.

We have adopted a remediation plan with respect to the material weaknesses identified above and, by hiring several new, experienced personnel in our financial reporting organization, adopting revised processes and procedures and modifying our internal controls to provide additional levels of review, implementation of new software solutions, training for staff and enhanced documentation we believe that we have remediated each of the material weaknesses as of December 31, 2018.

Under Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, our management is not required to assess or report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting in our annual report on Form 20-F for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2018. We are only required to provide such a report for the fiscal year ending

 

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December 31, 2019. At that time, our management may conclude that our internal control over financial reporting is not effective. In addition, until we cease to be an “emerging growth company” as such term is defined in the JOBS Act, which may not be until after five full fiscal years following the date of this offering, our independent registered public accounting firm is not required to attest to and report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. Even if our management concludes that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, our independent registered public accounting firm, after conducting its own independent testing, may disagree with our assessment or may issue a report that is qualified if it is not satisfied with our internal controls or the level at which our controls are documented, designed, operated or reviewed, or if it interprets the relevant requirements differently from us. We may be unable to timely complete our evaluation testing and any required remediation.

During the course of documenting and testing our internal control procedures, in order to satisfy the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, we may identify other weaknesses and deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting. In addition, if we fail to maintain the adequacy of our internal control over financial reporting, as these standards are modified, supplemented or amended from time to time, we may not be able to conclude on an ongoing basis that we have effective internal control over financial reporting in accordance with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. If we fail to maintain an effective internal control environment, we could suffer material misstatements in our financial statements, fail to meet our reporting obligations or fail to prevent fraud, which would likely cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information. This could, in turn, limit our access to capital markets, harm our results of operations, and lead to a decline in the trading price of our Class A common shares. Additionally, ineffective internal control over financial reporting could expose us to increased risk of fraud or misuse of corporate assets and subject us to potential delisting from Nasdaq, regulatory investigations and civil or criminal sanctions.

Our results of operations and operating metrics may fluctuate and we may generate losses in the future, which may cause the market price of our Class A common shares to decline.

We intend to make significant investments in our business, including with respect to our employee base, sales and marketing, including expenses relating to increased direct marketing efforts, referral programs, and free hardware and subsidized services, development of new products, services, and features; expansion of office space, data centers and other infrastructure, development of international operations and general administration, including legal, finance, and other compliance expenses related to being a public company. If the costs associated with acquiring and supporting new or larger merchants materially rise in the future, including the fees we pay to third parties to advertise our products and services, our expenses may rise significantly. In addition, increases in our client base could cause us to incur losses, because costs associated with new clients are generally incurred up front, while revenue is recognized thereafter as merchants utilize our services. If we are unable to generate adequate revenue growth and manage our expenses, our results of operations and operating metrics may fluctuate and we may incur significant losses in the future, which could cause the market price of our Class A common shares to decline.

We frequently invest in developing products or services that we believe will improve the experiences of our clients and therefore improve our long-term results of operations. However, these improvements often cause us to incur significant up-front costs and may not result in the long-term benefits that we expect, which may materially and adversely affect our business. For example, our growth strategy contemplates an expansion in the number of Stone Hubs and other relevant sales channels. Successful implementation of our growth strategy will require significant expenditures before any substantial associated revenue is generated. We cannot assure you that our increased investment in marketing activities will result in corresponding revenue growth. Additionally, many of our existing Stone Hubs are still relatively new. We cannot assure you that our recently opened or future Stone Hubs will generate revenue and cash flow comparable with those generated by our more mature Stone Hubs. Furthermore, we cannot assure you that our new Stone Hubs will continue to mature at the same rate as our existing Stone Hubs, especially if economic conditions deteriorate.

 

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If we cannot pass increases in fees from payment schemes, including assessment, interchange, transaction and other fees, along to our merchants, our operating margins will decline.

We pay assessment, interchange and other fees set by the payment schemes for each transaction we process. From time to time, the payment schemes increase the assessment, interchange and other fees that they charge payment processors. Under our existing contracts with merchants, we are generally permitted to pass these fee increases along to our merchants through corresponding increases in our processing fees. However, if we are unable to pass through these and other fees in the future due to contractual or regulatory restrictions, competitive pressures or other considerations, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our business is subject to extensive government regulation and oversight in Brazil and our status under these regulations may change. Violation of or compliance with present or future regulation could be costly, expose us to substantial liability and force us to change our business practices, any of which could seriously harm our business and results of operations.

As a payment institution (instituição de pagamento) and payment scheme settlor (instituidor de arranjo de pagamento) in Brazil, our business is subject to Brazilian laws and regulations relating to electronic payments in Brazil, comprised of Brazilian Federal Law No. 12,865/13 and related rules and regulations.

If we fail to comply with the requirements of the Brazilian legal and regulatory framework, we could be prevented from carrying out our regulated activities, and we could be (i) required to pay substantial fines (including per transaction fines) and disgorgement of our profits, (ii) required to change our business practices or (iii) subjected to insolvency proceedings such as an intervention by the Central Bank, as well as the out-of-court liquidation of Stone Pagamentos, and any of our subsidiaries to whom licenses may be granted in the future. Pagar.me has applied to the Central Bank to be licensed as a payment institution, and is awaiting such Central Bank approval. While Pagar.me is permitted to continue operations as a payment institution pending the outcome of the approval process, the failure to eventually obtain such approval would have material adverse effects on our business. In addition, Pagar.me currently operates as a payment scheme settlor pursuant to Central Bank license exemption, and depending on its growth in volumes processed, will be subject to the applicable regulations to operate as a payment scheme settlor. Any disciplinary or punitive action by our regulators or failure to obtain required operating licenses could seriously harm our business and results of operations.

The working capital solutions that we offer merchants make up a significant portion of our activities. Law No. 12,865/13 prohibits payment institutions like us from performing activities that are restricted to financial institutions. There is some debate under Brazilian law as to whether providing early payment of receivables to merchants could be characterized as “lending,” which is an activity that is restricted to financial institutions. Similarly, there is some debate as to whether the discount rates applicable to this early payment feature should be considered as “interest” under Brazilian law, in which case the limits set by Decree No. 22,623, of April 7, 1933 (the Brazilian Usury Law) would apply to these rates. If new laws are enacted or the courts’ interpretation of this activity changes, either preventing us from providing this feature or limiting the fees we usually charge, our financial performance could be negatively affected.

For further information regarding these regulatory matters, see “Business—Regulatory Matters—Regulation of the SPB.”

As we grow our offering of credit services, we may need to comply with additional laws and regulations applicable to such services.

We are in the initial stages of our credit offering, currently granted by means of third party financial institutions. To the extent that we may expand our business to offer financial products directly to our merchants, including by means of a direct credit corporation (sociedade de crédito direto) for which we have filed a request

 

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with the Central Bank or any other type of financial institution, upon authorization by the Central Bank, we would be operating in an even higher regulated sector and be subject to extensive and continuous regulatory oversight by the Central Bank. We would be required to have in place a number of additional compliance policies, procedures, regulatory requirements, as well as a more extensive interaction with the regulator. The additional demands associated with these policies and procedures may disrupt regular operations of our business by diverting the attention of some of our senior management team, may increase our legal, accounting and financial compliance costs and make some activities more time-consuming and costly, adversely affecting our ability to managing and growing our businesses. Any of these effects could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We have a limited operating history with financial results that may not be indicative of future performance, and our revenue growth rate is likely to slow as our business matures.

We began operations in 2014. As a result of our limited operating history, we have limited financial data that can be used to evaluate our current business, and such data may not be indicative of future performance. In particular, we have experienced periods of high revenue growth since we began selling our products and services, and we do not expect to be able to maintain the same rate of revenue growth as our business matures. Estimates of future revenue growth are subject to many risks and uncertainties and our future revenue may be materially lower than projected.

We have encountered, and expect to continue to encounter, risks and difficulties frequently experienced by growing companies, including challenges in financial forecasting accuracy, determining appropriate investments, developing new products and features, among others. Any evaluation of our business and prospects should be considered in light of our limited operating history, and the risks and uncertainties inherent in investing in early-stage companies.

We may face challenges in expanding into new geographic regions outside of Brazil.

We may expand into new geographic regions outside of Brazil, and we will face challenges associated with entering markets in which we have limited or no experience and in which we may not be well-known. Offering our services in new geographic regions requires substantial expenditures and takes considerable time, and we may not recover our investments in new markets in a timely manner or at all. For example, we may be unable to attract a sufficient number of merchants, fail to anticipate competitive conditions or fail to adapt and tailor our services to different markets.

The development of our products and services globally exposes us to risks relating to staffing and managing cross-border operations, increased costs and difficulty protecting intellectual property and sensitive data, tariffs and other trade barriers, differing and potentially adverse tax consequences, increased and conflicting regulatory compliance requirements, including with respect to privacy and security; lack of acceptance of our products and services, challenges caused by distance, language, and cultural differences, exchange rate risk and political instability. Accordingly, our efforts to develop and expand the geographic footprint of our operations may not be successful, which could limit our ability to grow our business.

Merchant attrition or a decline in our clients’ growth rate could cause our revenues to decline.

We experience attrition in merchant credit and debit card processing volume resulting from several factors, including business closures, transfers of merchants’ accounts to our competitors and account closures that we initiate due to heightened credit risks relating to contract breaches by merchants or a reduction in same-store sales. We cannot predict the level of attrition in the future and our revenues could decline as a result of higher than expected attrition, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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In addition, our growth to date has been partially driven by the growth of our clients’ businesses and the resulting growth in TPV. Should the rate of growth of our clients’ business slow or decline, this could have an adverse effect on volumes processed and therefore an adverse effect on our results of operations. Furthermore, should we not be successful in selling additional solutions to our active client base, we may fail to achieve our desired rate of growth.

Any acquisitions, partnerships or joint ventures that we make or enter into could disrupt our business and harm our financial condition.

Acquisitions, partnerships and joint ventures are part of our growth strategy. We evaluate, and expect in the future to evaluate, potential strategic acquisitions of, and partnerships or joint ventures with, complementary businesses, services or technologies. We may not be successful in identifying acquisition, partnership and joint venture targets. In addition, we may not be able to successfully finance or integrate any businesses, services or technologies that we acquire or with which we form a partnership or joint venture, and we may lose merchants as a result of any acquisition, partnership or joint venture. Furthermore, the integration of any acquisition (such as the EdB Acquisition), partnership or joint venture may divert management’s time and resources from our core business and disrupt our operations. Certain acquisitions, partnerships and joint ventures we make may prevent us from competing for certain clients or in certain lines of business, and may lead to a loss of clients. We may spend time and money on projects that do not increase our revenue. To the extent we pay the purchase price of any acquisition in cash, it would reduce our cash reserves, and to the extent the purchase price is paid with our common shares, it could be dilutive to our shareholders. To the extent we pay the purchase price with proceeds from the incurrence of debt, it would increase our level of indebtedness and could negatively affect our liquidity and restrict our operations. Our competitors may be willing or able to pay more than us for acquisitions, which may cause us to lose certain acquisitions that we would otherwise desire to complete. We cannot ensure that any acquisition, partnership or joint venture we make will not have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We partially rely on card issuers or payment schemes to process our transactions. If we fail to comply with the applicable requirements of Visa, Mastercard or other payment schemes, those payment schemes could seek to fine us, suspend us or terminate our registrations, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

We partially rely on card issuers or payment schemes to process our transactions, and must pay a fee for this service. From time to time, payment schemes such as Mastercard and Visa may increase the interchange fees that they charge for each transaction using one of their cards. A significant source of our revenue comes from processing transactions through Visa, Mastercard and other payment schemes. The payment schemes routinely update and modify their requirements. Changes in the requirements, including changes to risk management and collateral requirements, may impact our ongoing cost of doing business and we may not, in every circumstance, be able to pass through such costs to our clients or associated participants. Furthermore, if we do not comply with the payment scheme requirements (e.g., their rules, bylaws and charter documentation), the payment schemes could seek to fine us, suspend us or terminate our registrations that allow us to process transactions on their schemes. On occasion, we have received notices of non-compliance and fines, which have typically related to transactional or messaging requisites, as well as excessive chargebacks by a merchant or data security failures on the part of a merchant. If we are unable to recover amounts relating to fines from or pass through costs to our merchants or other associated participants, we would experience a financial loss. The termination of our registration due to failure to comply with the applicable requirements of Visa, Mastercard or other payment schemes, or any changes in the payment scheme rules that would impair our registration, could require us to stop providing payment services to Visa, Mastercard or other payment schemes, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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We are subject to economic and political risk, the business cycles and credit risk of our clients and issuing banks and volatility in the overall level of consumer, business and government spending, which could negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.

The electronic payments industry depends heavily on the overall level of consumer, business and government spending. We are exposed to general economic conditions that affect consumer confidence, consumer spending, consumer discretionary income or changes in consumer purchasing habits. A sustained deterioration in general economic conditions, including a rise in unemployment rates, particularly in Brazil, or increases in interest rates may adversely affect our financial performance by reducing the number or average purchase amount of transactions made using electronic payments. A reduction in the amount of consumer spending could result in a decrease in our revenue and profits. If cardholders make fewer transactions with their cards, our merchants make fewer sales of their products and services using electronic payments or people spend less money per transaction, we will have fewer transactions to process at lower amounts, resulting in lower revenue.

In addition, a recessionary economic environment could affect our merchants through a higher rate of bankruptcy filings, resulting in lower revenues and earnings for us. Our merchants are liable for any charges properly reversed by the card issuer on behalf of the cardholder. Our associated participants are also liable for any fines, or penalties, that may be assessed by any payment schemes. In the event that we are not able to collect such amounts from the associated participants, whether due to fraud, breach of contract, insolvency, bankruptcy or any other reason, we may be liable for any such charges. Furthermore, in the event of a closure of a merchant, we are unlikely to receive our fees for any services rendered to that merchant in its final months of operation, including subscription revenue owed to us from such merchant’s equipment rental obligations. In turn, we also face a default risk from issuing banks that are counterparty to our receivables pursuant to our credit card payment arrangements. Accordingly, a default by an issuing bank, due to insolvency, bankruptcy, intervention, operational error or otherwise could negatively impact our cash flows as we are required to make payments to merchants independently of the issuing banks’ payments owed to us. As of December 31, 2018, we recorded an estimate for credit losses for receivables, mainly relating to equipment rental, of R$9.2 million relating to estimated losses on such doubtful accounts. Any of the foregoing risks would negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations. See “—Risks Relating to Brazil.”

We have business systems that do not have full redundancy.

While much of our processing infrastructure is located in multiple, redundant data centers, we have some core business systems that are located in only one facility and do not have redundancy. An adverse event, such as damage or interruption from natural disasters, power or telecommunications failures, cybersecurity breaches, criminal acts and similar events, with respect to such systems or the facilities in which they are located could impact our ability to conduct business and perform critical functions, which could negatively impact our financial condition and results of operations.

A decline in the use of credit, debit or prepaid cards as a payment mechanism for consumers or adverse developments with respect to the payment processing industry in general could have a materially adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

If consumers do not continue to use credit, debit or prepaid cards as a payment mechanism for their transactions or if there is a change in the mix of payments between cash, credit, debit and prepaid cards that is adverse to us, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. We believe future growth in the use of credit, debit and prepaid cards and other electronic payments will be driven by the cost, ease-of-use, and quality of services offered to consumers and businesses. In order to consistently increase and maintain our profitability, consumers and businesses must continue to use electronic payment methods including, credit, debit and prepaid cards. Moreover, if there is an adverse development in the payments industry or Brazilian market in general, such as new legislation or regulation that makes it more

 

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difficult for our clients to do business or utilize such payment mechanisms, our business, financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected.

Our insurance policies may not be sufficient to cover all claims.

Our insurance policies may not adequately cover all risks to which we are exposed. A significant claim not covered by our insurance, in full or in part, may result in significant expenditures by us. Moreover, we may not be able to maintain insurance policies in the future at reasonable costs or on acceptable terms, which may adversely affect our business and the trading price of our Class A common shares.

Our risk management policies and procedures may not be fully effective in mitigating our risk exposure in all market environments or against all types of risks, which could expose us to losses and liability and otherwise harm our business.

We operate in a rapidly changing industry, and we have experienced significant change in recent years including certain acquisitions. Accordingly, our risk management policies and procedures may not be fully effective in identifying, monitoring and managing our risks. Some of our risk evaluation methods depend upon information provided by others and public information regarding markets, clients or other matters that are otherwise inaccessible by us. In some cases, however, that information may not be accurate, complete or up-to-date. If our policies and procedures are not fully effective or we are not always successful in capturing all risks to which we are or may be exposed, we may suffer harm to our reputation or be subject to litigation or regulatory actions that could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We offer payments services and other products and services to a large number of clients, and we are responsible for vetting and monitoring these clients and determining whether the transactions we process for them are lawful and legitimate. When our products and services are used to process illegitimate transactions, and we settle those funds to merchants and are unable to recover them, we suffer losses and liability. These types of illegitimate, as well as unlawful, transactions can also expose us to governmental and regulatory sanctions, including outside of Brazil (e.g., U.S. anti-money laundering and economic sanctions violations). The highly automated nature of, and liquidity offered by, our payments services make us a target for illegal or improper uses, including fraudulent or illegal sales of goods or services, money laundering, and terrorist financing. Identity thieves and those committing fraud using stolen or fabricated credit card or bank account numbers, or other deceptive or malicious practices, potentially can steal significant amounts of money from businesses like ours. In configuring our payments services, we face an inherent trade-off between security and client convenience. Our risk management policies, procedures, techniques, and processes may not be sufficient to identify all of the risks to which we are exposed, to enable us to mitigate the risks we have identified, or to identify additional risks to which we may become subject in the future. As a greater number of larger merchants use our services, we expect our exposure to material losses from a single merchant, or from a small number of merchants, to increase. In addition, when we introduce new services, focus on new business types, or begin to operate in markets in which we have a limited history of fraud loss, we may be less able to forecast and reserve accurately for those losses. Moreover, we rely on third party service providers, such as PSP providers, and our risk management policies and processes may not be sufficient to monitor compliance by such third parties with applicable laws and regulations, including anti-money laundering laws and settlement of sub-merchants. We may incur significant costs with respect to monitoring third party service providers. Furthermore, if our risk management policies and processes contain errors or are otherwise ineffective, we may suffer large financial losses, we may be subject to civil and criminal liability, and our business may be materially and adversely affected.

 

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We incur chargeback and refund liability when our merchants refuse to or cannot reimburse chargebacks and refunds resolved in favor of their customers. Any increase in chargebacks and refunds not paid by our merchants may adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations.

We are currently, and will continue to be, exposed to risks associated with chargebacks and refunds in connection with payment card fraud or relating to the goods or services provided by our sellers. In the event that a billing dispute between a cardholder and a merchant is not resolved in favor of the merchant, including in situations in which the merchant is engaged in fraud, the transaction is typically “charged back” to the merchant and the purchase price is credited or otherwise refunded to the cardholder. If we are unable to collect chargeback or refunds from the merchant’s account, or if the merchant refuses to or is unable to reimburse us for a chargeback or refunds due to closure, bankruptcy, or other reasons, we may bear the loss for the amounts paid to the cardholder. Our financial results would be adversely affected to the extent these merchants do not fully reimburse us for the related chargebacks. In addition, our exposure to these potential losses from chargebacks increases to the extent that we have provided working capital solutions to such merchants, as the full amount of the payment is provided up front rather than in installments. We do not collect and maintain reserves from our merchants to cover these potential losses, and for customer relations purposes we sometimes decline to seek reimbursement for certain chargebacks. Historically, chargebacks occur more frequently in online transactions than in in-person transactions, and more frequently for goods than for services. In addition, the risk of chargebacks is typically greater with those of our merchants that promise future delivery of goods and services, which we allow on our service. If we are unable to maintain our losses from chargebacks at acceptable levels, the payment schemes could fine us, increase our transaction fees, or terminate our ability to process payment cards. Any increase in our transaction fees could damage our business, and if we were unable to accept payment cards, our business would be materially and adversely affected.

Fraud by merchants or others could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

We may be subject to potential liability for fraudulent electronic payment transactions or credits initiated by merchants or others. Examples of merchant fraud include when a merchant or other party knowingly uses a stolen or counterfeit credit, debit or prepaid card, card number, or other credentials to record a false sales transaction, processes an invalid card, or intentionally fails to deliver the merchandise or services sold in an otherwise valid transaction. Criminals are using increasingly sophisticated methods to engage in illegal activities such as counterfeiting and fraud. It is possible that incidents of fraud could increase in the future. Failure to effectively manage risk and prevent fraud would increase our chargeback liability or other liability. Increases in chargebacks or other liability could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

Increases in interest rates may harm our business.

Processing consumer transactions made using credit cards, as well as providing for the prepayment of our clients’ receivables when consumers make credit card purchases in installments, both make up a significant portion of our activities. If Brazilian interest rates increase, consumers may choose to make fewer purchases using credit cards; and fewer merchants may decide to use our working capital solutions if our overall financing costs require us to increase the fee we charge for our working capital solutions. Either of these factors could cause our business activity levels to decrease. In addition, we have funded our operations in part through financings that have variable interest rates, whereas we charge merchants a fixed fee for the prepayment of our clients’ receivables. As of December 31, 2018, we had R$2.8 billion of debt and senior quota holder obligations in our FIDCs subject to variable interest and return rates. Accordingly, a cost or maturity mismatch between the funds raised by us and the funds made available to our clients may materially adversely affect our liquidity, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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We are exposed to fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates.

We hold certain funds in non-Brazilian real currencies, and will continue to do so in the future. Accordingly, our financial results are affected by the translation of these non-real currencies into reais. In addition, to the extent that we need to convert future financing proceeds into Brazilian reais for our operations, any appreciation of the Brazilian real against the relevant foreign currencies would materially reduce the Brazilian real amounts we would receive from the conversion. No assurance can be given that fluctuations in foreign exchange rates will not have a significant impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. We may also have foreign exchange risk on any of our other assets and liabilities denominated in currencies, or with pricing linked to currencies, other than our functional currency, including certain contract assets. The strengthening of the Brazilian real versus any of these foreign currencies may have a material adverse effect on our financial position and results of operations.

Our services must integrate with a variety of operating systems, software, hardware, web browsers and networks, and the hardware that enables merchants to accept payment cards must interoperate with mobile networks offered by telecom operators and third-party mobile devices utilizing those operating systems, software, hardware, web browsers and networks. If we are unable to ensure that our services or hardware interoperate with such operating systems, software, hardware, web browsers and networks, our business may be materially and adversely affected.

We are dependent on the ability of our products and services to integrate with a variety of operating systems, software, hardware and networks, as well as web browsers that we do not control. Any changes in these systems or networks that degrade the functionality of our products and services, impose additional costs or requirements on us, or give preferential treatment to competitive services, including their own services, could materially and adversely affect usage of our products and services. In the event that it is difficult for our merchants to access and use our products and services, our business may be materially and adversely affected. We also rely on bank platforms and others, including card issuers, to process some of our transactions. If there are any issues with, or service interruptions in, these bank platforms, users may be unable to have their transactions completed, which would seriously harm our business.

In addition, our solutions, including hardware and software, interoperate with mobile networks offered by telecom operators and mobile devices developed by third parties. Changes in these networks or in the design of these mobile devices may limit the interoperability of our solutions with such networks and devices and require modifications to our solutions. If we are unable to ensure that our hardware continues to interoperate effectively with such networks and devices, or if doing so is costly, our business may be materially and adversely affected.

Our business depends on a well-regarded and widely known brand, and any failure to maintain, protect, and enhance our brand would harm our business.

We have developed a well-regarded and widely known brand that has contributed significantly to the success of our business. Our brand is predicated on the idea that sellers and buyers will know and trust us and find value in building and growing their businesses with our products and services. Maintaining, protecting, and enhancing our brand are critical to expanding our base of merchants, and other third-party partners, as well as increasing engagement with our products and services. This will depend largely on our ability to remain widely known, maintain trust, be a technology leader, and continue to provide high-quality and secure products and services. Any negative publicity about our industry or our company, the quality and reliability of our products and services, our risk management processes, changes to our products and services, our ability to effectively manage and resolve seller and buyer complaints, our privacy and security practices, litigation, regulatory activity, and the experience of sellers and buyers with our products or services, could adversely affect our reputation and the confidence in and use of our products and services. Harm to our brand can arise from many sources, including failure by us or our partners to satisfy expectations of service and quality; inadequate protection of sensitive information; compliance failures and claims; litigation and other claims; third party trademark

 

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infringement claims; employee misconduct; and misconduct by our associated participants, partners, service providers, or other counterparties. If we do not successfully maintain a well-regarded and widely known brand, our business could be materially and adversely affected.

We have been from time to time in the past, and may in the future be, the target of incomplete, inaccurate, and misleading or false statements about our company, our business, and our products and services that could damage our brand and materially deter people from adopting our services. Negative publicity about our company or our management, including about our product quality and reliability, changes to our products and services, privacy and security practices, litigation, regulatory enforcement, and other actions, as well as the actions of our clients and other users of our services, even if inaccurate, could cause a loss of confidence in us. Our ability to respond to negative statements about us may be limited by legal prohibitions on permissible public communications by us during future periods.

If we are unable to maintain, promote, and grow our brand through effective marketing and communications strategies, our brand and business may be harmed.

We believe that maintaining and promoting our brand in a cost-effective manner is critical to achieving widespread acceptance of our products and services and to expand our base of clients. Maintaining and promoting our brand will depend largely on our ability to continue to provide useful, reliable, and innovative products and services, which we may not do successfully. We may introduce, or make changes to, features, products, services, or terms of service that clients do not like, which may materially and adversely affect our brand. Our brand promotion activities may not generate customer awareness or increase revenue, and even if they do, any increase in revenue may not offset the expenses we incur in building our brand. If we fail to successfully promote and maintain our brand or if we incur excessive expenses in this effort, our business could be materially and adversely affected.

The introduction and promotion of new services, as well as the promotion of existing services, may be partly dependent on our visibility on third-party advertising platforms, such as Google or Facebook. Changes in the way these platforms operate or changes in their advertising prices or other terms could make the maintenance and promotion of our products and services and our brand more expensive or more difficult. If we are unable to market and promote our brand on third-party platforms effectively, our ability to acquire new merchants would be materially harmed.

Degradation of the quality of the products and services we offer, including support services, could adversely impact our ability to attract and retain merchants and partners.

Our clients expect a consistent level of quality in the provision of our products and services. The support services that we provide are also a key element of the value proposition to our clients. If the reliability or functionality of our products and services is compromised or the quality of those products or services is otherwise degraded, or if we fail to continue to provide a high level of support, we could lose existing clients and find it harder to attract new merchants and partners. If we are unable to scale our support functions to address the growth of our merchant and partner network, the quality of our support may decrease, which could adversely affect our ability to attract and retain merchants and partners.

Certain ongoing legislative and regulatory initiatives under discussion by the Brazilian Congress, the Central Bank and the broader payments industry may result in changes to the regulatory framework of the Brazilian payments and financial industries and may have an adverse effect on the Company.

During the course of 2018, the Central Bank issued several regulations related to the Brazilian payments market, aiming to increase the use of electronic payments, increase competitiveness in the sector, strengthen governance and risk management practices in the industry, encourage the development of new solutions and the differentiation of products to consumers, and promote the increased use of electronic payment means. Such

 

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measures include the following recently enacted Central Bank regulations: (i) Circular 3,886/18, which defines and classifies sub-acquirers and determines conditions that require sub-acquirers to use centralized settlement via the Brazilian Interbank Payments Clearinghouse (CIP) system; (ii) Circular 3,887/18, which establishes that interchange fees on debit cards will be subject to a cap of up to 0.8% on debit transactions, and that debit card issuers must maintain a maximum average interchange fee of 0.5% on their total transaction volume, with each cap effective October 2018; and (iii) Circular 3,925/18, which, among other matters, determined that payment scheme settlors may establish obligations for the monitoring, by the acquirers, of the compliance by the PSP with the rules of the payment scheme.

Furthermore, CMN’s Resolution 4,707, Circulars 3,924, 3,926 and 3,928 and Circular-Letter 3,934, which established additional requirements and procedures applicable to credit transactions with merchants guaranteed by card receivables. These recent regulations aim to promote transparency in credit transactions, a broader credit offer and a reduction in the banking spread. These rules have been issued as a model for transition to a more robust legal framework for transactions with credit card receivables in connection with Central Bank Public Hearing 68, issued in 2018. The implementation of the new rules will require operational and technological changes, which could be costly and time consuming. There can be no assurance that we will be able to comply with the recent regulations within the timeframe imposed by the rules that we will be able to fully comply with such recent regulations after they are in effect nor assure full compliance by the PSP that use our acquiring services as required by the regulation. There can be no assurance that there will be no impact to the working capital, banking or future credit solutions we currently offer merchants. If we fail to comply with applicable requirements of the current or future Brazilian legal or regulatory framework, we could be required to (i) pay substantial fines (including fines per transaction) and disgorgement of our profits, or (ii) change our business practices. We could also be subject to private lawsuits. Any of these consequences could materially adversely affect our business and results of operations.

In addition to such recently enacted regulations, there are legislative and regulatory initiatives currently being discussed by the Brazilian Congress, Central Bank and the broader payments industry which may modify the regulatory framework of the Brazilian payments and financial industries. For instance, there has been discussion in the Brazilian Congress about the payment cycle currently in place in the Brazilian payments market. See “Business—Our Growth Strategies—Our Solutions—Grow Our Clients’ Businesses—More Information on Working Capital Solutions” for a discussion of the current Brazilian payment cycle. The Central Bank has recently issued a letter in response to a report issued by the Brazilian Congress regarding the payment cycle currently in place in the Brazilian payments market, which presents a technical study of the impact of changes to the Brazilian payment cycle and confirms the Central Bank’s decision to promote a gradual and planned shortening of the existing payment cycles. Should these discussions lead the Central Bank, as the competent authority over the market, to implement regulatory initiatives to reduce existing payment cycles, this could adversely affect prepayment services relating to credit card installment receivables that are commonly used by merchants in Brazil. Any reduction in payment cycles could significantly negatively impact our working capital solutions business, which could adversely affect our business, revenues and financial condition.

These discussions are in various phases of development, whether as part of legislative, regulatory or private initiatives in the industry and the overall impact of any such reform proposals is difficult to estimate. Any such changes in laws, regulations or market practices have the potential to alter the type or volume of the card-based transactions we process and our payment services and could adversely affect our business, revenues and financial condition.

We are subject to costs and risks associated with increased or changing laws and regulations affecting our business, including those relating to the sale of consumer products. Specifically, developments in data protection and privacy laws could harm our business, financial condition or results or operations.

We operate in a complex regulatory and legal environment that exposes us to compliance and litigation risks that could materially affect our results of operations. These laws may change, sometimes significantly, as a result

 

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of political, economic or social events. Some of the federal, state or local laws and regulations in Brazil that affect us include: those relating to consumer products, product liability or consumer protection; those relating to the manner in which we advertise, market or sell products; labor and employment laws, including wage and hour laws; tax laws or interpretations thereof; bank secrecy laws, data protection and privacy laws and regulations; and securities and exchange laws and regulations. For instance, data protection and privacy laws are developing to take into account the changes in cultural and consumer attitudes towards the protection of personal data. There can be no guarantee that we will have sufficient financial resources to comply with any new regulations or successfully compete in the context of a shifting regulatory environment.

On August 14, 2018, the President of Brazil approved Law No. 13,709/2018 (Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados), or the LGPD, a comprehensive data protection law establishing general principles and obligations that apply across multiple economic sectors and contractual relationships. The LGPD establishes detailed rules for the collection, use, processing and storage of personal data and will affect all economic sectors, including the relationship between customers and suppliers of goods and services, employees and employers and other relationships in which personal data is collected, whether in a digital or physical environment. Moreover, on December 28, 2018, the President enacted Provisional Measure No. 869 of 2018, which amended certain provisions of the LGPD and created the National Data Protection Authority (Autoridade Nacional de Proteção de Dados or “ANPD”). The ANPD will be an administrative body, connected to the Cabinet of the Presidency, with technical autonomy, but no financial and budgetary autonomy. The ANPD is expected to have the following responsibilities, among others: (i) enact rules and regulations relating to data protection; (ii) analyze and interpret, in the administrative sphere, matters relating to the LGPD; (iii) request access to information from data controllers and processors; (iv) supervise processing activities and impose sanctions; and (v) promote cooperation with international and transnational data protection authorities. The Provisional Measure No. 869 of 2018 also extended the original term of 18 months for companies to become compliant with the LGPD to 24 months from the date of publication of the law. The LGPD will become effective in August 2020, by which date all legal entities will be required to adapt their data processing activities to these new rules. Any additional privacy laws or regulations enacted or approved in Brazil or in other jurisdictions in which we operate could seriously harm our business, financial condition or results of operations. On August 16, 2018, the Central Bank approved Circular 3,909, which establishes requirements for the engaging of data processing, storage and cloud computing services by payment institutions authorized to operate by the Central Bank and determines the mandatory implementation of a cybersecurity policy. In this regard, Circular 3,909 requires payment institutions to draw up an internal cybersecurity policy and to include specific mandatory clauses in contracts regarding data processing, storage and cloud computing services. Circular 3,909 will become effective on September 1, 2019. All payment institutions will be required to adapt their activities and agreements to these new rules in accordance with the timeline for adequacy established by Circular 3,909.

In particular, as we seek to build a trusted and secure platform for commerce, and as we expand our network of sellers and buyers and facilitate their transactions and interactions with one another, we will increasingly be subject to laws and regulations relating to the collection, use, retention, security, and transfer of information, including the personally identifiable information of our employees and our merchants and their customers. As with the other laws and regulations noted above, these laws and regulations may be interpreted and applied differently over time and from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and it is possible they will be interpreted and applied in ways that will materially and adversely affect our business. Any failure, real or perceived, by us to comply with our posted privacy policies or with any regulatory requirements or orders or other local, state, federal, or international privacy or consumer protection-related laws and regulations could cause sellers or their customers to reduce their use of our products and services and could materially and adversely affect our business.

Our business is subject to complex and evolving regulations and oversight related to our provision of payments services and other financial services.

The laws, rules, and regulations that govern our business include or may in the future include those relating to banking, deposit-taking, cross-border and domestic money transmission, foreign exchange, payments services

 

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(such as payment processing and settlement services), consumer financial protection, anti-money laundering and terrorist financing, escheatment, and compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard, a set of requirements designed to ensure that all companies that process, store, or transmit payment card information maintain a secure environment to protect cardholder data. These laws, rules, and regulations are enforced by multiple authorities and governing bodies in Brazil, including the Central Bank and the National Monetary Council. In addition, as our business continues to develop and expand, we may become subject to additional rules and regulations, which may limit or change how we conduct our business.

For example, although we do not engage in financial services activities in the United States, we maintain bank accounts in the United States for the international settlement agent for the payment scheme settlors, such as Visa and Mastercard. We are or may be subject to anti-money laundering and terrorist financing laws and regulations that prohibit, among other things, involvement in transferring the proceeds of criminal or terrorist activities. We could be subject to liability and forced to change our business practices if we were found to be subject to, or in violation of, any laws or regulations governing the ability to maintain a bank account in the countries where we operate, including the United States, or if existing or new legislation or regulations applicable to banks in the countries where we maintain a bank account, including the United States, were to result in banks in those countries being unwilling or unable to establish and maintain bank accounts in our name.

We believe that our activities in the United States, including maintaining bank accounts in connection with payment scheme settlements do not require a license from federal or state banking authorities to conduct financial services activities in the United States. If we are found to have engaged in a banking or financial services business requiring a license, we could be subject to liability, or forced to cease doing such business, change our business practices, or become a regulated financial entity subject to compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including anti-money laundering and terrorist financing laws and regulations, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition, or results of operations.

Although we have a compliance program focused on applicable laws, rules, and regulations (which currently is principally focused on Brazilian law) and are continually investing in this program, we may still be subject to fines or other penalties in one or more jurisdictions levied by federal, state or local regulators, as well as those levied by foreign regulators. In addition to fines, penalties for failing to comply with applicable rules and regulations could include significant criminal and civil lawsuits, forfeiture of significant assets, or other enforcement actions, including loss of licensure in a given jurisdiction. We could also be required to make changes to our business practices or compliance programs as a result of regulatory scrutiny. In addition, any perceived or actual breach of compliance by us with respect to applicable laws, rules, and regulations could have a significant impact on our reputation as a trusted brand and could cause us to lose existing clients, prevent us from obtaining new clients, require us to expend significant funds to remedy problems caused by breaches and to avert further breaches, and expose us to legal risk and potential liability.

We are subject to regulatory activity and antitrust litigation under competition laws.

We are subject to scrutiny from governmental agencies under competition laws in countries in which we operate. Some jurisdictions also provide private rights of action for competitors or consumers to assert claims of anticompetitive conduct. Other companies or governmental agencies may allege that our actions violate antitrust or competition laws, or otherwise constitute unfair competition. Contractual agreements with buyers, sellers, or other companies could give rise to regulatory action or antitrust investigations or litigation. Also, our unilateral business practices could give rise to regulatory action or antitrust investigations or litigation. Some regulators may perceive our business to have such significant market power that otherwise uncontroversial business practices could be deemed anticompetitive. Any such claims and investigations, even if they are unfounded, may be expensive to defend, involve negative publicity and substantial diversion of management time and effort, and could result in significant judgments against us.

 

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Changes in tax laws, tax incentives, benefits or differing interpretations of tax laws may adversely affect our results of operations.

Changes in tax laws, regulations, related interpretations and tax accounting standards in Brazil, the Cayman Islands or the United States may result in a higher tax rate on our earnings and revenues, which may significantly reduce our profits and cash flows from operations. For example, in 2015 the Brazilian government increased the rate of PIS/COFINS tax (which is a tax levied on revenues) from 0% to approximately 4% on financial income realized by Brazilian companies that are taxed under the non-cumulative regime (which is the tax regime that applies to us). In addition, our results of operations and financial condition may decline if certain tax incentives are not retained or renewed. For example, Brazilian Law No. 11,196 currently grants tax benefits to companies that invest in research and development, provided that some requirements are met, which significantly reduces our annual income tax expense. If the taxes applicable to our business increase or any tax benefits are revoked and we cannot alter our cost structure to pass our tax increases on to clients, our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could be seriously harmed. Our payment processing activities are also subject to a Municipal Tax on Services (Imposto Sobre Serviços, or ISS). Any increases in ISS rates would also harm our profitability.

In addition, Brazilian government authorities at the federal, state and local levels are considering changes in tax laws in order to cover budgetary shortfalls resulting from the recent economic downturn in Brazil. If these proposals are enacted they may harm our profitability by increasing our tax burden, increasing our tax compliance costs, or otherwise affecting our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. Tax rules in Brazil, particularly at local level, can change without notice. We may not always be aware of all such changes that affect our business and we may therefore fail to pay the applicable taxes or otherwise comply with tax regulations, which may result in additional tax assessments and penalties for our company.

At the municipal level, the Brazilian government enacted Supplementary Law No. 157/16, which imposed changes regarding the tax collection applied to the rendering of our services. These changes created new obligations, since taxes will now be due in the municipality in which the acquirer of our services is located rather than in the municipality in which the service provider’s facilities are located. This obligation took force in January 2018, but has been delayed by Direct Unconstitutionality Action No. 5835, or ADI, filed by taxpayers. The ADI challenges Supplementary Law No. 157/16’s constitutionality before the Supreme Court, arguing that the new legislation would adversely affect companies’ activities due to the increase of costs and bureaucracy related to the ISS payment to several Municipalities and the compliance with tax reporting obligations connected therewith. As a result, the Supreme Court granted an injunction to suspend Supplementary Law No. 157/16’s enforcement. A final decision on this matter is currently pending.

Furthermore, we are subject to tax laws and regulations that may be interpreted differently by tax authorities and us. The application of indirect taxes, such as sales and use tax, value-added tax, or VAT, provincial taxes, goods and services tax, business tax and gross receipt tax, to businesses like ours is a complex and evolving issue. Significant judgment is required to evaluate applicable tax obligations. In many cases, the ultimate tax determination is uncertain because it is not clear how existing statutes apply to our business. One or more states, or Municipalities, the federal government or other countries may seek to challenge the taxation or procedures applied to our transactions imposing the charge of taxes or additional reporting, record-keeping or indirect tax collection obligations on businesses like ours. New taxes could also require us to incur substantial costs to capture data and collect and remit taxes. If such obligations were imposed, the additional costs associated with tax collection, remittance and audit requirements could have a material adverse effect on our business and financial results.

 

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The costs and effects of pending and future litigation, investigations or similar matters, or adverse facts and developments related thereto, could materially affect our business, financial position and results of operations.

We are, and may be in the future, party to legal, arbitration and administrative investigations, inspections and proceedings arising in the ordinary course of our business or from extraordinary corporate, tax or regulatory events, involving our clients, suppliers, customers, as well as competition, government agencies, tax and environmental authorities, particularly with respect to civil, tax and labor claims. Our indemnities may not cover all claims that may be asserted against us, and any claims asserted against us, regardless of merit or eventual outcome, may harm our reputation. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that we will be successful in defending ourselves in pending or future litigation or similar matters under various laws. Should the ultimate judgments or settlements in any pending litigation or future litigation or investigation significantly exceed our indemnity rights, they could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations and the price of our Class A common shares. Further, even if we adequately address issues raised by an inspection conducted by an agency or successfully defend our case in an administrative proceeding or court action, we may have to set aside significant financial and management resources to settle issues raised by such proceedings or to those lawsuits or claims, which could adversely affect our business. See “Business—Legal Proceedings.”

We may not be able to successfully manage our intellectual property and may be subject to infringement claims.

We rely on a combination of contractual rights, trademarks and trade secrets to establish and protect our proprietary rights, including technology. Third parties may challenge, invalidate, circumvent, infringe or misappropriate our intellectual property, or such intellectual property may not be sufficient to permit us to take advantage of current market trends or otherwise to provide competitive advantages, which could result in costly redesign efforts, discontinuance of certain service offerings or other competitive harm. Others, including our competitors, may independently develop similar technology, duplicate our services or design around our intellectual property, and in such cases, we could not assert our intellectual property rights against such parties. Further, our contractual arrangements may not effectively prevent disclosure of our confidential information or provide an adequate remedy in the event of unauthorized disclosure of our confidential information. We may have to litigate to enforce or determine the scope and enforceability of our intellectual property rights, trade secrets and know-how, which is expensive, could cause a diversion of resources and may not prove successful. Also, because of the rapid pace of technological change in our industry, aspects of our business and our services rely on technologies developed or licensed by third parties, and we may not be able to obtain or continue to obtain licenses and technologies from these third parties on reasonable terms or at all. The loss of intellectual property protection, the inability to obtain third-party intellectual property or delay or refusal by relevant regulatory authorities to approve pending intellectual property registration applications could harm our business and ability to compete.

We may also be subject to costly litigation in the event our services and technology infringe upon or otherwise violate a third party’s proprietary rights. Third parties may have, or may eventually be issued, patents that could be infringed by our proprietary rights. Any of these third parties could make a claim of infringement against us with respect to our proprietary rights. We may also be subject to claims by third parties for breach of copyright, trademark, license usage or other intellectual property rights. Any claim from third parties may result in a limitation on our ability to use the intellectual property subject to these claims or could prevent us from registering our brands as trademarks. Additionally, in recent years, individuals and groups have been purchasing intellectual property assets for the sole purpose of making claims of infringement and attempting to extract settlements from companies like ours. Even if we believe that intellectual property related claims are without merit, defending against such claims is time-consuming and expensive and could result in the diversion of the time and attention of our management and employees. Claims of intellectual property infringement also might require us to redesign affected services, enter into costly settlement or license agreements, pay costly damage awards, change our brands, or face a temporary or permanent injunction prohibiting us from marketing or selling

 

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certain of our services or using certain of our brands. Even if we have an agreement for indemnification against such costs, the indemnifying party, if any in such circumstances, may be unable to uphold its contractual obligations. If we cannot or do not license the infringed technology on reasonable terms or substitute similar technology from another source, our revenue and earnings could be adversely impacted.

We rely upon third-party data center service providers to host certain aspects of our platform. Any disruption to, or interference with, our use of such services, could impair our ability to deliver our platform, resulting in customer dissatisfaction, damaging our reputation and harming our business.

We utilize data center hosting facilities from third-party service providers to make certain products and services available on our platform. Our primary data centers are in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in Brazil, and in Charlotte, North Carolina, Chicago, Illinois and Atlanta, Georgia in the United States. Our operations depend, in part, on our providers’ ability to protect their facilities against damage or interruption from natural disasters, power or telecommunications failures, criminal acts and similar events. The occurrence of spikes in user volume, traffic, natural disasters, acts of terrorism, vandalism or sabotage, or a decision to close a facility without adequate notice, or other unanticipated problems at our providers’ facilities could result in lengthy interruptions in the availability of our platform, which would adversely affect our business.

Our use of open source software could negatively affect our ability to sell our solutions and subject us to possible litigation.

Our solutions incorporate and are dependent to some extent on the use and development of open source software and we intend to continue our use and development of open source software in the future. Such open source software is generally licensed by its authors or other third parties under open source licenses and is typically freely accessible, usable and modifiable. Pursuant to such open source licenses, we may be subject to certain conditions, including requirements that we offer our proprietary software that incorporates the open source software for no cost, that we make available source code for modifications or derivative works we create based upon, incorporating or using the open source software and that we license such modifications or derivative works under the terms of the particular open source license. If an author or other third party that uses or distributes such open source software were to allege that we had not complied with the conditions of one or more of these licenses, we could be required to incur significant legal expenses defending against such allegations and could be subject to significant damages, enjoined from the sale of our solutions that contained or are dependent upon the open source software and required to comply with the foregoing conditions, which could disrupt the distribution and sale of some of our solutions. Litigation could be costly for us to defend, have a negative effect on our operating results and financial condition or require us to devote additional research and development resources to change our platform. The terms of many open source licenses to which we are subject have not been interpreted by courts. As there is little or no legal precedent governing the interpretation of many of the terms of certain of these licenses, the potential impact of these terms on our business is uncertain and may result in unanticipated obligations regarding our solutions and technologies.

Any requirement to disclose our proprietary source code, termination of open source license rights or payments of damages for breach of contract could be harmful to our business, results of operations or financial condition, and could help our competitors develop products and services that are similar to or better than ours.

In addition to risks related to license requirements, use of open source software can lead to greater risks than use of third-party commercial software, as open source licensors generally do not provide warranties, controls on the origin or development of the software, or remedies against the licensors. Many of the risks associated with usage of open source software cannot be eliminated and could adversely affect our business.

Although we believe that we have complied with our obligations under the various applicable licenses for open source software, it is possible that we may not be aware of all instances where open source software has been incorporated into our proprietary software or used in connection with our solutions or our corresponding

 

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obligations under open source licenses. We do not have open source software usage policies or monitoring procedures in place. We rely on multiple software programmers to design our proprietary software and we cannot be certain that our programmers have not incorporated open source software into our proprietary software that we intend to maintain as confidential or that they will not do so in the future. To the extent that we are required to disclose the source code of certain of our proprietary software developments to third-parties, including our competitors, in order to comply with applicable open source license terms, such disclosure could harm our intellectual property position, competitive advantage, results of operations and financial condition. In addition, to the extent that we have failed to comply with our obligations under particular licenses for open source software, we may lose the right to continue to use and exploit such open source software in connection with our operations and solutions, which could disrupt and adversely affect our business.

If we lose key personnel our business, financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected.

We are dependent upon the ability and experience of a number of key personnel who have substantial experience with our operations, the rapidly changing payment processing industry and the markets in which we offer our services. Many of our key personnel have worked for us for a significant amount of time or were recruited by us specifically due to their industry experience. It is possible that the loss of the services of one or a combination of our senior executives or key managers, including our chief executive officer, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

In a dynamic industry like ours, the ability to attract, recruit, develop and retain qualified employees is critical to our success and growth. If we are not able to do so, our business and prospects may be materially and adversely affected.

Our business functions at the intersection of rapidly changing technological, social, economic and regulatory developments that require a wide-ranging set of expertise and intellectual capital. In order for us to successfully compete and grow, we must attract, recruit, develop and retain the necessary personnel who can provide the needed expertise across the entire spectrum of our intellectual capital needs. While we have a number of our key personnel who have substantial experience with our operations, we must also develop our personnel to provide succession plans capable of maintaining continuity in the midst of the inevitable unpredictability of human capital. However, the market for qualified personnel is competitive, and we may not succeed in recruiting additional personnel or may fail to effectively replace current personnel who depart with qualified or effective successors. For instance, our Stone Missionaries are highly trained and, accordingly, we may face challenges in recruiting and retaining such qualified personnel. We must continue to hire additional personnel to execute our strategic plans. Our effort to retain and develop personnel may also result in significant additional expenses, which could adversely affect our profitability. We cannot assure that qualified employees will continue to be employed or that we will be able to attract and retain qualified personnel in the future. Failure to retain or attract key personnel could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our operations may be adversely affected by a failure to timely obtain or renew any licenses required to operate our hubs.

The operation of our hubs and other properties we occupy or may come to occupy are subject to certain license and certification requirements under applicable law, including operation and use licenses (alvará de licença de uso e funcionamento) from the municipalities in which we operate and certificates of inspection from applicable local fire departments. Our operations may be adversely affected by a failure to timely obtain or renew any licenses required to operate our hubs. We have not yet obtained licenses for the majority of our hubs, and we cannot assure you that we will be able to obtain the licenses for which we have applied in a timely manner, as applicable. In addition, we cannot assure you that we will obtain such licenses in a timely manner for the opening of new hubs.

 

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If we are unable to renew or obtain such licenses, we may be subject to certain penalties, which include the imposition of fines and the suspension or termination of our operations at the respective hub. The imposition of such penalties, or, in extreme scenarios, the sealing off of the premises by relevant public authorities pending compliance with all the requirements demanded by the municipalities and fire departments, may adversely affect our operations and our ability to generate revenues at the relevant location.

Our operating results are subject to seasonal fluctuations, which could result in variations in our quarterly profit.

We have experienced in the past, and expect to continue to experience, seasonal fluctuations in our revenues as a result of consumer spending patterns. Historically, our revenues have been strongest during the last quarter of the year as a result of higher sales during the Brazilian holiday season. This is due to the increase in the number and amount of electronic payment transactions related to seasonal retail events. Adverse events that occur during these months could have a disproportionate effect on our results of operations for the entire fiscal year. As a result of quarterly fluctuations caused by these and other factors, comparisons of our operating results across different fiscal quarters may not be accurate indicators of our future performance.

Potential clients may be reluctant to switch to a new vendor, which may adversely affect our growth.

Many potential clients worry about disadvantages associated with switching payment processing vendors, such as a loss of accustomed functionality, increased costs and business disruption. For potential clients, switching from one vendor of core processing or related software and services (or from an internally-developed system) to a new vendor is a significant undertaking. As a result, potential clients often resist changing vendors. We seek to overcome this resistance through strategies such as making investments to enhance the functionality of our software. However, there can be no assurance that our strategies for overcoming potential clients’ reluctance to change vendors will be successful, and this resistance may adversely affect our growth.

We are dependent on a single manufacturer for a substantial amount of our POS devices. We are at risk of shortage, price increases, changes, delay or discontinuation of key components from our POS device manufacturers, which could disrupt and harm our business.

We currently are dependent on PAX BR Comércio e Serviços de Equipamentos de Informática Ltda., or PAX, to manufacture and assemble a substantial amount of our POS devices. We are constrained by its manufacturing capabilities and pricing, and may face production delays or escalating costs if it is unable to manufacture a sufficient quantity of product at an affordable cost. Further, we could face production delays if it becomes necessary to replace this existing substantial supplier with one or more alternative suppliers.

We may also be subject to product recalls or other quality-related actions if such devices, or other products supplied by us, are believed to cause injury or illness, or if such products are defective or fail to meet our quality control standards or standards established by applicable law. If our suppliers are unable or unwilling to recall products failing to meet applicable quality standards, we may be required to recall those products at substantial cost to us. Recalls and government, customer or consumer concerns about product safety could harm our reputation, brands and relationships with clients, lead to increased costs, loss of revenues (including revenues from equipment rentals and/or decreased transaction volumes), and/or loss of merchants, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Additionally, agreements for the components used to manufacture our POS devices are entered into directly by the manufacturer of our POS devices and we do not have agreements with these suppliers. Some of the key components used to manufacture our POS devices, such as the chip and pin reader, come from limited sources of supply. Due to the reliance of our POS manufacturers on these components, we are subject to the risk of shortages and long lead times in the supply of certain products. If our manufacturers cannot find alternative sources of supply, we could be subject to components shortages or delays or other problems in product assembly.

 

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In addition, various sources of supply-chain risk, including strikes or shutdowns, or loss of or damage to our products while they are in transit or storage, could limit the supply of our POS devices. Any interruption or delay in component supply, any increases in component costs, the inability of our manufacturers to obtain these parts or components from alternate sources at acceptable prices and within a reasonable amount of time, and/or difficulties in fulfilling obligations in connection with the warranties we provide for our POS devices, would harm our ability to provide our POS devices or other services to our merchants on a timely basis. This could damage our relationships with our clients, prevent us from acquiring new clients, and seriously harm our business.

We are subject to anti-corruption, anti-bribery and anti-money laundering laws and regulations.

We operate in jurisdictions that have a high risk for corruption and we are subject to anti-corruption, anti-bribery and anti-money laundering laws and regulations, including the Brazilian Federal Law No. 12,846/2013, or the Clean Company Act, and the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, as amended, or the FCPA. Both the Clean Company Act and the FCPA impose liability against companies who engage in bribery of government officials, either directly or through intermediaries. We have a compliance program that is designed to manage the risks of doing business in light of these new and existing legal and regulatory requirements. Violations of the anti-corruption, anti-bribery and anti-money laundering laws and regulations could result in criminal liability, administrative and civil lawsuits, significant fines and penalties, forfeiture of significant assets, as well as reputational harm.

Regulators may increase enforcement of these obligations, which may require us to make adjustments to our compliance program, including the procedures we use to verify the identity of our customers and to monitor our transactions. Regulators regularly reexamine the transaction volume thresholds at which we must obtain and keep applicable records or verify identities of customers and any change in such thresholds could result in greater costs for compliance. Costs associated with fines or enforcement actions, changes in compliance requirements, or limitations on our ability to grow could harm our business, and any new requirements or changes to existing requirements could impose significant costs, result in delays to planned product improvements, make it more difficult for new customers to join our network and reduce the attractiveness of our products and services.

Our business could be harmed if we are unable to accurately forecast demand for our products and services and to adequately manage our product inventory.

We invest broadly in our business, and such investments are driven by our expectations of the future success of a product or services. Our products, such as our POS devices, often require investments with long lead times. In addition, we invest in new Stone Hubs based on our expectation of future demand for our services from the relevant location. An inability to correctly forecast the success of a particular product or services could harm our business. We must forecast inventory and capital needs and expenses, hire employees and place orders sufficiently in advance with our third-party suppliers and contract manufacturers based on our estimates of future demand for particular products or services. Our ability to accurately forecast demand for our products or services could be affected by many factors, including an increase or decrease in demand for our or our competitors’ products or services, unanticipated changes in general market conditions, and the change in economic conditions.

We may not be able to secure financing on favorable terms, or at all, to meet our future capital needs.

We have funded our operations since inception primarily through equity financings, bank credit facilities, and financing arrangements, including through FIDCs, which are Brazilian investment funds established to purchase and hold receivables. We do not know when or if our operations will generate sufficient cash to fund our ongoing operations. In the future, we may require additional capital to respond to business opportunities, refinancing needs, challenges, acquisitions, or unforeseen circumstances and may decide to engage in equity or debt financings or enter into credit facilities for other reasons, and we may not be able to secure any such additional debt or equity financing or refinancing on favorable terms, in a timely manner, or at all. Any debt

 

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financing obtained by us in the future could also include restrictive covenants relating to our capital-raising activities and other financial and operational matters, which may make it more difficult for us to obtain additional capital and to pursue business opportunities, including potential acquisitions. Our credit facilities contain restrictive covenants, including customary limitations on the incurrence of certain indebtedness and liens. Our ability to comply with these covenants may be affected by events beyond our control, and breaches of these covenants could result in a default under our credit facilities and any future financing agreements into which we may enter. If not waived, defaults could cause our outstanding indebtedness under our credit facilities and any future financing agreements that we may enter into under these terms to become immediately due and payable. If we are unable to obtain adequate financing or financing on terms satisfactory to us when we require it, our ability to continue to grow or support our business and to respond to business challenges could be significantly limited. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Indebtedness.”

Requirements associated with being a public company in the United States will require significant company resources and management attention.

We are subject to certain reporting requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, or the Exchange Act, and the other rules and regulations of the SEC and Nasdaq. We are also subject to various other regulatory requirements, including the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. We expect these rules and regulations to increase our legal, accounting and financial compliance costs and to make some activities more time-consuming and costly. For example, we expect these rules and regulations to make it more difficult and more expensive for us to obtain director and officer liability insurance, and we may be required to accept reduced policy limits and coverage or incur substantial costs to maintain the same or similar coverage. New rules and regulations relating to information disclosure, financial reporting and controls and corporate governance, which could be adopted by the SEC, Nasdaq or other regulatory bodies or exchange entities from time to time, could result in a significant increase in legal, accounting and other compliance costs and make certain corporate activities more time-consuming and costly, which could materially affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. These rules and regulations may also make it more difficult for us to attract and retain qualified persons to serve on our board of directors or as executive officers.

These new obligations will also require substantial attention from our senior management and could divert their attention away from the day-to-day management of our business. Given that most of the individuals who now constitute our management team have limited experience managing a publicly traded company and complying with the increasingly complex laws pertaining to public companies, initially, these new obligations could demand even greater attention. These cost increases and the diversion of management’s attention could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and operation results.

Our balance sheet includes significant amounts of intangible assets. The impairment of a significant portion of these assets would negatively affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

As of December 31, 2018, our balance sheet includes intangible assets that amount to R$307.7 million. These assets consist primarily of identified intangible assets associated with our acquisitions. We also expect to engage in additional acquisitions, which may result in our recognition of additional intangible assets. Under current accounting standards, we are required to amortize certain intangible assets over the useful life of the asset, while certain other intangible assets are not amortized. On at least an annual basis, we assess whether there have been impairments in the carrying value of certain intangible assets. If the carrying value of the asset is determined to be impaired, then it is written down to fair value by a charge to operating earnings. An impairment of a significant portion of intangible assets could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

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Our holding company structure makes us dependent on the operations of our subsidiaries.

We are a Cayman Islands exempted company with limited liability. Our material assets are our direct and indirect equity interests in our subsidiaries. We are, therefore, dependent upon payments, dividends and distributions from our subsidiaries for funds to pay our holding company’s operating and other expenses and to pay future cash dividends or distributions, if any, to holders of our Class A common shares, and we may have tax costs in connection with any dividend or distribution. Furthermore, exchange rate fluctuation will affect the U.S. dollar value of any distributions our subsidiaries make with respect to our equity interests in those subsidiaries. See “—Risks Relating to Brazil—Exchange rate instability may have adverse effects on the Brazilian economy, us and the price of our Class A common shares”, “Political instability and economic uncertainty in Brazil, including in relation to country-wide corruption probes, may adversely affect the price of our Class A common shares and our business, operations and financial condition” and “Dividends and Dividend Policy.”

We are subject to the risks associated with less than full control rights of some of our subsidiaries and investors.

We own less than 100% of the equity interests or assets of some of our subsidiaries and investors and do not hold controlling interests in some of the entities in which we have invested. As a result, we do not receive the full amount of any profit or cash flow from these non-wholly owned entities and those who hold a controlling interest may be able to take actions that bind us. We may be adversely affected by this lack of full control and we cannot provide assurance that management of our subsidiaries or other entities will possess the skills, qualifications or abilities necessary to profitably operate such businesses.

An occurrence of a natural disaster, widespread health epidemic or other outbreaks could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our business could be materially and adversely affected by natural disasters, such as fires or floods, the outbreak of a widespread health epidemic, or other events, such as wars, acts of terrorism, environmental accidents, power shortages or communication interruptions. The occurrence of a disaster or similar event could materially disrupt our business and operations. These events could also cause us to close our operating facilities temporarily, which would severely disrupt our operations and have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, our net sales could be materially reduced to the extent that a natural disaster, health epidemic or other major event harms the economy of the countries where we operate. Our operations could also be severely disrupted if our clients, merchants or other participants were affected by natural disasters, health epidemics or other major events.

Risks Relating to Brazil

The Brazilian federal government has exercised, and continues to exercise, significant influence over the Brazilian economy. This involvement, as well as Brazil’s political and economic conditions, could harm us and the price of our Class A common shares.

The Brazilian federal government frequently exercises significant influence over the Brazilian economy and occasionally makes significant changes in policy and regulations. The Brazilian government’s actions to control inflation and other policies and regulations have often involved, among other measures, increases or decreases in interest rates, changes in fiscal policies, wage and price controls, foreign exchange rate controls, blocking access to bank accounts, currency devaluations, capital controls and import restrictions. We have no control over and cannot predict what measures or policies the Brazilian government may take in the future. We and the market price of our securities may be harmed by changes in Brazilian government policies, as well as general economic factors, including, without limitation:

 

   

growth or downturn of the Brazilian economy;

 

   

interest rates and monetary policies;

 

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exchange rates and currency fluctuations;

 

   

inflation;

 

   

liquidity of the domestic capital and lending markets;

 

   

import and export controls;

 

   

exchange controls and restrictions on remittances abroad;

 

   

modifications to laws and regulations according to political, social and economic interests;

 

   

fiscal policy and changes in tax laws;

 

   

economic, political and social instability;

 

   

labor and social security regulations;

 

   

energy and water shortages and rationing; and

 

   

other political, diplomatic, social and economic developments in or affecting Brazil.

Uncertainty over whether the Brazilian federal government will implement changes in policy or regulation affecting these or other factors in the future may affect economic performance and contribute to economic uncertainty in Brazil, which may have an adverse effect on us and our Class A common shares. We cannot predict what measures the Brazilian federal government will take in the face of mounting macroeconomic pressures or otherwise. Recent economic and political instability has led to a negative perception of the Brazilian economy and higher volatility in the Brazilian securities markets, which also may adversely affect us and our Class A common shares. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Significant Factors Affecting our Results of Operations.”

Political instability and economic uncertainty in Brazil, including in relation to country-wide corruption probes, may adversely affect the price of our Class A common shares and our business, operations and financial condition.

Brazil’s political environment has historically influenced, and continues to influence, the performance of the country’s economy. Political crises have affected and continue to affect the confidence of investors and the general public, which have historically resulted in economic deceleration and heightened volatility in the securities issued by companies with operations mainly in Brazil.

The recent political instability in Brazil has contributed to a decline in market confidence in the Brazilian economy. Various ongoing investigations into allegations of money laundering and corruption being conducted by the Office of the Brazilian Federal Prosecutor, including the largest such investigation, known as “Operação Lava Jato” have negatively impacted the Brazilian economy and political environment.

A number of senior politicians, including current and former members of Congress and the Executive Branch, and high-ranking executive officers of major corporations and state-owned companies in Brazil were arrested, convicted of various charges relating to corruption, entered into plea agreements with federal prosecutors and/or have resigned or been removed from their positions as a result of these Lava Jato investigations. These individuals are alleged to have accepted bribes by means of kickbacks on contracts granted by the government to several infrastructure, oil and gas and construction companies. The profits of these kickbacks allegedly financed the political campaigns of political parties forming the previous government’s coalition that was led by former President Dilma Rousseff, which funds were unaccounted for or not publicly disclosed. These funds were also allegedly destined toward the personal enrichment of certain individuals. The effects of Lava Jato as well as other ongoing corruption-related investigations resulted in an adverse impact on the image and reputation of those companies that have been implicated as well as on the general market perception of the Brazilian economy, political environment and the Brazilian capital markets. We have no control over, and cannot predict, whether such investigations or allegations will lead to further political and economic instability or whether new allegations against government officials will arise in the future.

 

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Amidst this background of recent political uncertainty, in August 2016, the Brazilian Senate approved the removal from office of Brazil’s then-President, Dilma Rousseff, following a legal and administrative impeachment process for infringement of budgetary laws. Michel Temer, the former Vice-President, who assumed the presidency of Brazil following Rousseff’s ouster, is also under investigation on corruption allegations and was arrested on March 21, 2019. In addition, the former President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, began serving a 12-year prison sentence on corruption and money laundering charges in April 2018 yet had led for a while the polls as a top contender to win the 2018 presidential election. On October 28, 2018, Jair Bolsonaro, a former member of the military and three-decade congressman, was elected the president of Brazil and took office on January 1, 2019. During his presidential campaign, Mr. Bolsonaro was reported to favor the privatization of state-owned companies, economic liberalization, and social security and tax reforms. However, there is no guarantee that Mr. Bolsonaro will be successful in executing his campaign promises or passing certain favored reforms fully or at all, particularly when confronting a fractured Congress. In addition, his current minister of the economy, Paulo Guedes, proposed during the presidential campaign the revocation of income tax exemption on the payment of dividends, which, if enacted, would increase the tax expenses associated with any dividend or distribution by Brazilian companies, which could impact our capacity to receive, from our subsidiaries, future cash dividends or distributions net of taxes. Moreover, Mr. Bolsonaro was generally a polarizing figure during his campaign for presidency, particularly in relation to certain of his behavioral views, and we cannot predict the ways in which a divided electorate may continue to impact his presidency and ability to implement policies and reforms, all of which could have a negative impact on our business and the price of our Class A ordinary shares.

It is expected from current Brazilian federal government to propose the general terms of fiscal reform to stimulate the economy and reduce the forecasted budget deficit for 2019 and following years, but it is uncertain whether the Brazilian government will be able to gather the required support in the Brazilian Congress to pass additional specific reforms. In February 2019, the Brazilian federal government presented to the Congress a bill proposing a large and comprehensive change of Brazil’s public social security system. If some or all of these public expenses are maintained and the required reforms are not passed, Brazil will continue to run a budget deficit for 2019 and the years going forward. We cannot predict the effects of this budget deficit on the Brazilian economy. We cannot predict which policies the Brazilian federal government may adopt or change or the effect that any such policies might have on our business and on the Brazilian economy. Any such new policies or changes to current policies may have a material adverse impact on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.

In addition, our results of operations are substantially dependent on the macro-economic conditions in Brazil. The Brazilian economy has experienced a sharp downturn in recent years due, in part, to the interventionist economic and monetary policies of the previous Brazilian government and the global drop in commodity prices. GDP growth rates were 1.9%, 3.0% and 0.5% in 2012, 2013 and 2014, respectively, but GDP experienced a contraction of 3.5% in 2015 and 2016, respectively. For the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017, GDP grew 1.1% and 1.0%, respectively. We cannot assure that Brazil’s GDP will increase or stabilize in the future. Future developments in the Brazilian economy may affect Brazil’s growth rates, employment rates, the availability of credit and average wages in Brazil and, consequently, the demand for our products and services. As a result, any negative developments on these metrics may adversely affect our business strategies, results of operations, financial condition and/or the trading price of our Class A common shares.

Inflation and certain measures by the Brazilian government to curb inflation have historically harmed the Brazilian economy and Brazilian capital markets, and high levels of inflation in the future could harm our business and the price of our Class A common shares.

In the past, Brazil has experienced extremely high rates of inflation. Inflation and some of the measures taken by the Brazilian government in an attempt to curb inflation have had significant negative effects on the Brazilian economy generally. Inflation, policies adopted to curb inflationary pressures and uncertainties regarding possible future government intervention have contributed to economic uncertainty and heightened volatility in the Brazilian economy and capital markets.

 

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According to the National Consumer Price Index (Índice Nacional de Preços ao Consumidor Amplo), or IPCA, which is published by the IBGE, Brazilian inflation rates were 3.8%, 2.9%, 6.3% and 10.7% in 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively. Brazil may experience high levels of inflation in the future and inflationary pressures may lead to the Brazilian government’s intervening in the economy and introducing policies that could harm our business and the price of our Class A common shares. In the past, the Brazilian government’s interventions included the maintenance of a restrictive monetary policy with high interest rates that restricted credit availability and reduced economic growth, causing volatility in interest rates. For example, the official interest rate in Brazil oscillated from 14.25% as of December 31, 2015 to 6.50% as of December 31, 2018, as established by the Monetary Policy Committee (Comitê de Política Monetária do Banco Central do Brasil—COPOM). On February 6, 2019, the Monetary Policy Committee decided to maintain the SELIC rate to 6.50%. The COPOM reconfirmed the SELIC rate of 6.50% on March 20, 2019. Conversely, more lenient government and Central Bank policies and interest rate decreases have triggered and may continue to trigger increases in inflation, and, consequently, growth volatility and the need for sudden and significant interest rate increases, which could negatively affect us and increase our indebtedness.

Exchange rate instability may have adverse effects on the Brazilian economy, us and the price of our Class A common shares.

The Brazilian currency has been historically volatile and has been devalued frequently over the past three decades. Since 1999, the Central Bank has allowed the real/U.S. dollar exchange rate to float freely and during this period, the real/U.S. dollar exchange rate has experienced frequent and substantial variations in relation to the U.S. dollar and other foreign currencies. Throughout this period, the Brazilian government has implemented various economic plans and used various exchange rate policies, including sudden devaluations, periodic mini-devaluations (during which the frequency of adjustments has ranged from daily to monthly), exchange controls, dual exchange rate markets and a floating exchange rate system. Although long-term depreciation of the real is generally linked to the rate of inflation in Brazil, depreciation of the real occurring over shorter periods of time has resulted in significant variations in the exchange rate between the real, the U.S. dollar and other currencies. The real depreciated against the U.S. dollar by 32.0% at year-end 2015 as compared to year-end 2014, and by 11.8% at year-end 2014 as compared to year-end 2013. The real/U.S. dollar exchange rate reported by the Central Bank was R$3.9048 per U.S. dollar on December 31, 2015 and R$3.2591 per U.S. dollar on December 31, 2016, which reflected a 16.5% appreciation in the real against the U.S. dollar during 2016. We cannot predict whether the Central Bank or the Brazilian government will continue to let the real float freely or intervene in the exchange rate market by returning to a currency band system or otherwise. The real may depreciate or appreciate substantially against the U.S. dollar. Furthermore, Brazilian law provides that, whenever there is a serious imbalance in Brazil’s balance of payments or there are substantial reasons to foresee a serious imbalance, temporary restrictions may be imposed on remittances of foreign capital abroad. We cannot assure that such measures will not be taken by the Brazilian government in the future.

The real/U.S. dollar exchange rate reported by the Central Bank was R$3.308 per U.S. dollar on December 31, 2017, which reflected a 1.5% depreciation in the real against the U.S. dollar during 2017 and R$3.8748 per U.S. dollar on December 31, 2018, which reflected a 17.1% depreciation in the real against the U.S. dollar during 2018. On March 29, 2019 the exchange rate was R$3.8967 per U.S.$1.00. There can be no assurance that the real will not again depreciate against the U.S. dollar or other currencies in the future.

A devaluation of the real relative to the U.S. dollar could create inflationary pressures in Brazil and cause the Brazilian government to, among other measures, increase interest rates. Any depreciation of the real may generally restrict access to the international capital markets. It would also reduce the U.S. dollar value of our results of operations. Restrictive macroeconomic policies could reduce the stability of the Brazilian economy and harm our results of operations and profitability. In addition, domestic and international reactions to restrictive economic policies could have a negative impact on the Brazilian economy. These policies and any reactions to them may harm us by curtailing access to foreign financial markets and prompting further government intervention. A devaluation of the real relative to the U.S. dollar may also, as in the context of the current economic slowdown, decrease consumer spending, increase deflationary pressures and reduce economic growth.

 

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On the other hand, an appreciation of the real relative to the U.S. dollar and other foreign currencies may deteriorate the Brazilian foreign exchange current accounts. We and certain of our suppliers purchase goods and services from countries outside of Brazil, and thus changes in the value of the U.S. dollar compared to other currencies may affect the costs of goods and services that we purchase. Depending on the circumstances, either devaluation or appreciation of the real relative to the U.S. dollar and other foreign currencies could restrict the growth of the Brazilian economy, as well as our business, results of operations and profitability.

Infrastructure and workforce deficiency in Brazil may impact economic growth and have a material adverse effect on us.

Our performance depends on the overall health and growth of the Brazilian economy. Brazilian GDP growth has fluctuated over the past few years, with a growth rate of 3.0% in 2013 but decreasing to 0.5% in 2014, a contraction of 3.8% in 2015, a contraction of 3.6% in 2016, a growth of 1.0% in 2017, and a growth of 1.1% in 2018. Growth is limited by inadequate infrastructure, including potential energy shortages and deficient transportation, logistics and telecommunication sectors, the lack of a qualified labor force, and the lack of private and public investments in these areas, which limit productivity and efficiency. Any of these factors could lead to labor market volatility and generally impact income, purchasing power and consumption levels, which could limit growth and ultimately have a material adverse effect on us.

Developments and the perceptions of risks in other countries, including other emerging markets, the United States and Europe, may harm the Brazilian economy and the price of securities issued by companies operating in Brazil, including the price of our Class A common shares.

The market for securities of companies operating in Brazil, including us, is influenced by economic and market conditions in Brazil and, to varying degrees, market conditions in other Latin American and emerging markets, as well as the United States, Europe and other countries and regions. To the extent the conditions of the global markets or economy deteriorate, the business of companies operating in Brazil may be harmed. The weakness in the global economy has been marked by, among other adverse factors, lower levels of consumer and corporate confidence, decreased business investment and consumer spending, increased unemployment, reduced income and asset values in many areas, reduction of China’s growth rate, currency volatility and limited availability of credit and access to capital. Developments or economic conditions in other emerging market countries have at times significantly affected the availability of credit to Brazilian companies and resulted in considerable outflows of funds from Brazil, decreasing the amount of foreign investments in Brazil.

Crises and political instability in other emerging market countries, the United States, Europe or other countries could decrease investor demand for securities related to companies operating in Brazil, such as our Class A common shares. In June 2016, the United Kingdom had a referendum in which the majority voted to leave the European Union. We have no control over and cannot predict the effect of the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union nor over whether and to which effect any other member state will decide to exit the European Union in the future. These developments, as well as potential crises and forms of political instability arising therefrom or any other as of yet unforeseen development, may harm our business and the price of our Class A common shares.

Any further downgrading of Brazil’s credit rating could reduce the trading price of our Class A common shares.

We may be harmed by investors’ perceptions of risks related to Brazil’s sovereign debt credit rating. Rating agencies regularly evaluate Brazil and its sovereign ratings, which are based on a number of factors including macroeconomic trends, fiscal and budgetary conditions, indebtedness metrics and the perspective of changes in any of these factors.

 

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The rating agencies began to review Brazil’s sovereign credit rating in September 2015. Subsequently, the three major rating agencies downgraded Brazil’s investment-grade status:

 

   

Standard & Poor’s initially downgraded Brazil’s credit rating from BBB-negative to BB-positive and subsequently downgraded it again from BB-positive to BB, maintaining its negative outlook, citing a worse credit situation since the first downgrade. On January 11, 2018, Standard & Poor’s further downgraded Brazil’s credit rating from BB to BB-negative.

 

   

In December 2015, Moody’s placed Brazil’s Baa3’s issue and bond ratings under review for downgrade and subsequently downgraded the issue and bond ratings to below investment grade, at Ba2 with a negative outlook, citing the prospect of a further deterioration in Brazil’s debt indicators, taking into account the low growth environment and the challenging political scenario.

 

   

Fitch downgraded Brazil’s sovereign credit rating to BB-positive with a negative outlook, citing the rapid expansion of the country’s budget deficit and the worse-than-expected recession. In February 2018, Fitch downgraded Brazil’s sovereign credit rating again to BB-negative, citing, among other reasons, fiscal deficits, the increasing burden of public debt and an inability to implement reforms that would structurally improve Brazil’s public finances. Brazil’s sovereign credit rating is currently rated below investment grade by the three main credit rating agencies. Consequently, the prices of securities issued by companies with significant Brazilian operations have been negatively affected. A prolongation or worsening of the recent Brazilian recession and continued political uncertainty, among other factors, could lead to further ratings downgrades. Any further downgrade of Brazil’s sovereign credit ratings could heighten investors’ perception of risk and, as a result, cause the trading price of our Class A common shares to decline.

Internet regulation in Brazil is recent and still limited and several legal issues related to the internet are uncertain.

In 2014, Brazil enacted a law, which we refer to as the Brazilian Civil Rights Framework for the Internet (Marco Civil da Internet), setting forth principles, guarantees, rights and duties for the use of the Internet in Brazil, including provisions about internet service provider liability, internet user privacy and internet neutrality. In May 2016, further regulations were passed in connection with the referred law. The administrative penalties imposed by the Brazilian Civil Rights Framework for the Internet include notification, fines (up to 10% of the revenues in Brazil of the relevant entity’s economic group in the preceding fiscal year) and suspension or prohibition from engaging in data processing activities. The Brazilian Civil Rights Framework for the Internet also determines joint and several liability between foreign parent companies and local Brazilian subsidiaries for the payment of fines that may be imposed for breach of its provisions. Administrative penalties may be applied cumulatively. Daily fines may be imposed in judicial proceedings, as a way to compel compliance with a Brazilian court order. If for any reason a company fails to comply with the court order, the fine can reach significant amounts. We may be subject to liability under these laws and regulations should we fail to adequately comply with the Brazilian Civil Rights Framework.

However, unlike in the United States, little case law exists around the Brazilian Civil Rights Framework for the internet and existing jurisprudence has not been consistent. Legal uncertainty arising from the limited guidance provided by current laws in force allows for different judges or courts to decide very similar claims in different ways and establish contradictory jurisprudence. This legal uncertainty allows for rulings against us and could set adverse precedents, which individually or in the aggregate could seriously harm our business, results of operations and financial condition. In addition, legal uncertainty may harm our clients’ perception and use of our service.

We may face restrictions and penalties under the Brazilian Consumer Protection Code in the future.

Brazil has a series of strict consumer protection statutes, collectively known as the Consumer Protection Code (Código de Defesa do Consumidor), that are intended to safeguard consumer interests and that apply to all

 

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companies in Brazil that supply products or services to Brazilian consumers. These consumer protection provisions include protection against misleading and deceptive advertising, protection against coercive or unfair business practices and protection in the formation and interpretation of contracts, usually in the form of civil liabilities and administrative penalties for violations. These penalties are often levied by the Brazilian Consumer Protection Agencies (Fundação de Proteção e Defesa do Consumidor, or PROCONs), which oversee consumer issues on a district-by-district basis. Companies that operate across Brazil may face penalties from multiple PROCONs, as well as the National Secretariat for Consumers (Secretaria Nacional do Consumidor, or SENACON). Companies may settle claims made by consumers via PROCONs by paying compensation for violations directly to consumers and through a mechanism that allows them to adjust their conduct, called a conduct adjustment agreement (Termo de Ajustamento de Conduta or TAC). Brazilian Public Prosecutor Offices may also commence investigations related to consumer rights violations and this TAC mechanism is also available for them. Companies that violate TACs face potential automatic fines. Brazilian Public Prosecutor Offices may also file public civil actions against companies in violation of consumer rights, seeking strict observation of the consumer protection law provisions and compensation for the damages consumers may have suffered.

As of December 31, 2018, we had approximately 143 active proceedings with PROCONs and small claims courts relating to consumer rights. To the extent consumers file such claims against us in the future, we may face reduced revenue due to refunds and fines for non-compliance that could negatively impact our results of operations.

Risks Relating to Our Class A Common Shares and the Offering

An active trading market for our common shares may not be sustainable. If an active trading market is not maintained, investors may not be able to resell their shares at or above the offering price and our ability to raise capital in the future may be impaired.

Although our Class A common shares are listed and being traded on Nasdaq, an active trading market for our shares may not be maintained following this offering. If an active market for our Class A common shares is not maintained, it may be difficult for you to sell shares you purchase in this offering without depressing the market price for the shares or at all. An inactive trading market may also impair our ability to raise capital to continue to fund operations by selling shares and may impair our ability to acquire other companies or technologies by using our shares as consideration.

Sales of substantial amounts of our Class A common shares in the public market, or the perception that these sales may occur, could cause the market price of our Class A common shares to decline.

Sales of substantial amounts of our Class A common shares in the public market, or the perception that these sales may occur, could cause the market price of our Class A common shares to decline. This could also impair our ability to raise additional capital through the sale of our equity securities. Under our Articles of Association, we are authorized to issue up to 630,000,000 shares, of which 277,396,282 common shares will be outstanding following this offering. We, the members of our broad of directors and our executive officers, as well as the selling shareholders, have agreed with the underwriters, subject to certain exceptions, not to offer, sell, or dispose of any shares of our share capital or securities convertible into or exchangeable or exercisable for any shares of our share capital during the 90-day period following the date of this prospectus. We cannot predict the size of future issuances of our shares or the effect, if any, that future sales and issuances of shares would have on the market price of our Class A common shares.

In addition, we have adopted the 2018 Omnibus Equity Plan, under which we have the discretion to grant a broad range of equity-based awards to eligible participants. See “Management—Long-Term Incentive Plans (LTIP)—2018 Omnibus Equity Plan.” We intend to register all common shares that we may issue under the 2018 Omnibus Equity Plan. Once we register these common shares, they can be freely sold in the public market upon

 

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issuance, subject to volume limitations applicable to affiliates and the lock-up agreements described in the “Underwriting” section of this prospectus, and any other applicable restrictions. In addition, in connection with our initial public offering on October 24, 2018, our directors and officers and all of our pre-initial public offering shareholders entered into lock-up agreements that expire on April 22, 2019. As a result, any shares held before the completion of our initial public offering by a shareholder that signed a lock-up in connection with our initial public offering but not in connection with this offering will be eligible for sale in the public market upon expiration of the initial public offering lock-up agreement. See “Class A Common Shares Eligible for Future Sale.” If these additional shares are sold, or if it is perceived that they will be sold, in the public market, the trading price of our Class A common shares could decline. If a large number of our Class A common shares or securities convertible into our Class A common shares are sold in the public market after they become eligible for sale, the sales could reduce the trading price of our Class A common shares and impede our ability to raise future capital.

Our founder shareholders will, in the aggregate, own less than 1.0% of our outstanding Class A common shares and 58.7% of our outstanding Class B common shares and will control all matters requiring shareholder approval. Our founder shareholders also have the right to nominate a majority of our board and consent rights over certain corporate transactions. This concentration of ownership limits your ability to influence corporate matters.

Immediately following this offering of Class A common shares, our founder shareholders will own less than 1.0% of our Class A common shares and 58.7% of our Class B common shares, resulting in their ownership of 27.9% of our outstanding common shares, and, consequently, 52.2% of the combined voting power of our common shares. See “Principal Shareholders.” These entities, to the extent they act together, will control a majority of our voting power and will have the ability to control matters affecting, or submitted to a vote of, our shareholders. As a result, these shareholders may be able to elect the members of our board of directors and set our management policies and exercise overall control over us. In addition, we have entered into a shareholders agreement with our founder shareholders pursuant to which we have granted the founder shareholders the right to nominate directors to our board and committees, rights to information, and rights to approve certain of our corporate actions. See “Management—Shareholders Agreement.” The rights granted pursuant to our shareholders agreement mean that our founder shareholders will be able to appoint a majority of our board despite owning a non-proportionate number of common shares and will be able to control any transaction involving a merger or change of control until they own less than 15% of the total voting power of our common shares. In addition, our Articles of Association require consent of our founder shareholders before our shareholders are able to take certain actions, including to amend such document. See “Description of Share Capital,” “Management” and “Principal Shareholders” for more information.

The interests of these shareholders may conflict with, or differ from, the interests of other holders of our shares. For example, our current controlling shareholders may cause us to make acquisitions that increase the amount of our indebtedness or outstanding shares, sell revenue-generating assets or inhibit change of control transactions that benefit other shareholders. They may also pursue acquisition opportunities for themselves that may be complementary to our business, and as a result, those acquisition opportunities may not be available to us. In addition, the Central Bank may hold our controlling shareholders jointly liable in connection with any regulatory actions against Stone Pagamentos. Such potential liability could cause the interests of our controlling shareholders to differ from other holders of our shares. So long as these shareholders continue to own a substantial number of our common shares, they will significantly influence all our corporate decisions and together with other shareholders, they may be able to effect or inhibit changes in the control of our company.

If securities or industry analysts do not publish research, or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research, about our business, the price of our Class A common shares and our trading volume could decline.

The trading market for our Class A common shares will depend in part on the research and reports that securities or industry analysts publish about us or our business. Securities and industry analysts do not currently,

 

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and may never, publish research on our company. If no or too few securities or industry analysts commence coverage of our company, the trading price for our Class A common shares would likely be negatively affected. In the event securities or industry analysts initiate coverage, if one or more of the analysts who cover us downgrade our Class A common shares or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, the price of our Class A common shares would likely decline. If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of our company or fail to publish reports on us regularly, demand for our Class A common shares could decrease, which might cause the price of our Class A common shares and trading volume to decline.

We do not anticipate paying any cash dividends in the foreseeable future.

We currently intend to retain our future earnings, if any, for the foreseeable future, to fund the operation of our business and future growth. We do not intend to pay any dividends to holders of our Class A common shares. As a result, capital appreciation in the price of our Class A common shares, if any, will be your only source of gain on an investment in our Class A common shares.

Our dual-class capital structure means our shares will not be included in certain indices. We cannot predict the impact this may have on our share price.

In 2017, FTSE Russell, S&P Dow Jones and MSCI announced changes to their eligibility criteria for inclusion of shares of public companies on certain indices to exclude companies with multiple classes of shares of common stock from being added to such indices. FTSE Russell announced plans to require new constituents of its indices to have at least five percent of their voting rights in the hands of public stockholders, whereas S&P Dow Jones announced that companies with multiple share classes, such as ours, will not be eligible for inclusion in the S&P 500, S&P MidCap 400 and S&P SmallCap 600, which together make up the S&P Composite 1500. MSCI also opened public consultations on their treatment of no-vote and multi-class structures and has temporarily barred new multi-class listings from its ACWI Investable Market Index and U.S. Investable Market 2500 Index. We cannot assure you that other stock indices will not take a similar approach to FTSE Russell, S&P Dow Jones and MSCI in the future. Under the announced policies, our dual class capital structure would make us ineligible for inclusion in any of these indices and, as a result, mutual funds, exchange-traded funds and other investment vehicles that attempt to passively track these indices will not invest in our stock. These policies are new and it is unclear what effect, if any, they will have on the valuations of publicly traded companies excluded from the indices, but it is possible that they may depress these valuations compared to those of other similar companies that are included.

The disparity in the voting rights among the classes of our shares may have a potential adverse effect on the price of our Class A common shares, and may limit or preclude your ability to influence corporate matters.

Each Class A common share will entitle its holder to one vote per share on all matters submitted to a vote of our shareholders. Each holder of our Class B common shares will be entitled to 10 votes per Class B common share so long as the voting power of Class B common shares is at least 10% of the aggregate voting power of our outstanding common shares on the record date for any general meeting of the shareholders. The difference in voting rights could adversely affect the value of our Class A common shares by, for example, delaying or deferring a change of control or if investors view, or any potential future purchaser of our company views, the superior voting rights of the Class B common shares to have value. Because of the ten-to-one voting ratio between our Class B and Class A common shares, the holders of our Class B common shares collectively will continue to control a majority of the combined voting power of our common shares and therefore be able to control all matters submitted to our shareholders so long as the Class B common shares represent at least 9.1% of all outstanding shares of our Class A and Class B common shares. This concentrated control will limit or preclude your ability to influence corporate matters for the foreseeable future.

Future transfers by holders of Class B common shares will generally result in those shares converting to Class A common shares, subject to limited exceptions, such as certain transfers effected to permitted transferees

 

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or for estate planning or charitable purposes. The conversion of Class B common shares to Class A common shares will have the effect, over time, of increasing the relative voting power of those holders of Class B common shares who retain their shares in the long term. For a description of our dual class structure, see “Description of Share Capital and Constitutional Documents—Meetings of Shareholders—Voting Rights and Right to Demand a Poll.”

We are a Cayman Islands exempted company with limited liability. The rights of our shareholders may be different from the rights of shareholders governed by the laws of U.S. jurisdictions.

We are a Cayman Islands exempted company with limited liability. Our corporate affairs are governed by our Articles of Association and by the laws of the Cayman Islands. The rights of shareholders and the responsibilities of members of our board of directors may be different from the rights of shareholders and responsibilities of directors in companies governed by the laws of U.S. jurisdictions. In the performance of its duties, the board of directors of a solvent Cayman Islands exempted company is required to consider the company’s interests, and the interests of its shareholders as a whole, which may differ from the interests of one or more of its individual shareholders. See “Description of Share Capital and Constitutional Documents—Comparison of Cayman Islands Corporate Law and U.S. Corporate Law.”

As a foreign private issuer and an “emerging growth company” (as defined in the JOBS Act), we will have different disclosure and other requirements than U.S. domestic registrants and non-emerging growth companies.

As a foreign private issuer and emerging growth company, we may be subject to different disclosure and other requirements than domestic U.S. registrants and non-emerging growth companies. For example, as a foreign private issuer, in the United States, we are not subject to the same disclosure requirements as a domestic U.S. registrant under the Exchange Act, including the requirements to prepare and issue quarterly reports on Form 10-Q or to file current reports on Form 8-K upon the occurrence of specified significant events, the proxy rules applicable to domestic U.S. registrants under Section 14 of the Exchange Act or the insider reporting and short-swing profit rules applicable to domestic U.S. registrants under Section 16 of the Exchange Act. In addition, we rely on exemptions from certain U.S. rules which permit us to follow Cayman Islands legal requirements rather than certain of the requirements that are applicable to U.S. domestic registrants.

We follow Cayman Islands laws and regulations that are applicable to Cayman Islands companies. However, Cayman Islands laws and regulations applicable to Cayman Islands companies do not contain any provisions comparable to the U.S. proxy rules, the U.S. rules relating to the filing of reports on Form 10-Q or 8-K or the U.S. rules relating to liability for insiders who profit from trades made in a short period of time, as referred to above.

Furthermore, foreign private issuers are required to file their annual report on Form 20-F within 120 days after the end of each fiscal year, while U.S. domestic issuers that are accelerated filers are required to file their annual report on Form 10-K within 75 days after the end of each fiscal year. Foreign private issuers are also exempt from Regulation Fair Disclosure, aimed at preventing issuers from making selective disclosures of material information, although we will be subject to Cayman Islands laws and regulations having substantially the same effect as Regulation Fair Disclosure. As a result of the above, even though we are required to file reports on Form 6-K disclosing the limited information which we have made or are required to make public pursuant to Cayman Islands law, or are required to distribute to shareholders generally, and that is material to us, you may not receive information of the same type or amount that is required to be disclosed to shareholders of a U.S. company.

The JOBS Act contains provisions that, among other things, relax certain reporting requirements for emerging growth companies. Under this act, as an emerging growth company, we are not subject to the same disclosure and financial reporting requirements as non-emerging growth companies. For example, as an

 

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emerging growth company, we are permitted to take advantage of, certain exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies. Also, we do not have to comply with future audit rules promulgated by the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or PCAOB (unless the SEC determines otherwise) and our auditors will not need to attest to our internal controls under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. We may follow these reporting exemptions until we are no longer an emerging growth company. As a result, our shareholders may not have access to certain information that they deem important. We will remain an emerging growth company until the earlier of (1) the last day of the fiscal year (a) following the fifth anniversary of the completion of our initial public offering, (b) in which we have total annual revenues of at least US$1.07 billion, or (c) in which we are deemed to be a large accelerated filer, which means the market value of our Class A common shares that is held by non-affiliates exceeds US$700 million as of the prior June 30th, and (2) the date on which we have issued more than US$1.0 billion in non-convertible debt during the prior three-year period. Accordingly, the information about us available to you will not be the same as, and may be more limited than, the information available to shareholders of a non-emerging growth company. We could be an “emerging growth company” for up to five years following our initial public offering, although circumstances could cause us to lose that status earlier, including if the market value of our Class A common shares held by non-affiliates exceeds US$700 million as of any June 30 (the end of our second fiscal quarter) before that time, in which case we would no longer be an “emerging growth company” as of the following December 31 (our fiscal year end). We cannot predict if investors will find our Class A common shares less attractive because we may rely on these exemptions. If some investors find our Class A common shares less attractive as a result, there may be a less active trading market for our Class A common shares and the price of our Class A common shares may be more volatile.

Moreover, we are not required to file periodic reports and financial statements with the SEC as frequently or within the same time frames as U.S. companies with securities registered under the Exchange Act. We currently prepare our financial statements in accordance with IFRS. We will not be required to file financial statements prepared in accordance with or reconciled to U.S. GAAP so long as our financial statements are prepared in accordance with IFRS as issued by the IASB. We are not required to comply with Regulation FD, which imposes restrictions on the selective disclosure of material information to shareholders. In addition, our officers, directors and principal shareholders are exempt from the reporting and short-swing profit recovery provisions of Section 16 of the Exchange Act and the rules under the Exchange Act with respect to their purchases and sales of our securities.

We cannot predict if investors will find our Class A common shares less attractive because we will rely on these exemptions. If some investors find our Class A common shares less attractive as a result, there may be a less active trading market for our Class A common shares and our share price may be more volatile.

As a foreign private issuer, we are permitted to, and we will, rely on exemptions from certain Nasdaq corporate governance standards applicable to U.S. issuers, including the requirement that a majority of an issuer’s directors consist of independent directors. This may afford less protection to holders of our Class A common shares.

Section 5605 of Nasdaq equity rules requires listed companies to have, among other things, a majority of their board members be independent, and to have independent director oversight of executive compensation, the nomination of directors and corporate governance matters. As a foreign private issuer, however, we are permitted to, and we will follow home-country practice in lieu of the above requirements.

We may lose our foreign private issuer status which would then require us to comply with the Exchange Act’s domestic reporting regime and cause us to incur significant legal, accounting and other expenses.

In order to maintain our current status as a foreign private issuer, either (a) more than 50% of our outstanding voting securities must be either directly or indirectly owned of record by non-residents of the United States or (b)(i) a majority of our executive officers or directors may not be U.S. citizens or residents,

 

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(ii) more than 50% of our assets cannot be located in the United States and (iii) our business must be administered principally outside the United States. If we lose this status, we would be required to comply with the Exchange Act reporting and other requirements applicable to U.S. domestic issuers, which are more detailed and extensive than the requirements for foreign private issuers. We may also be required to make changes in our corporate governance practices in accordance with various SEC and Nasdaq rules. The regulatory and compliance costs to us under U.S. securities laws if we are required to comply with the reporting requirements applicable to a U.S. domestic issuer may be significantly higher than the costs we will incur as a foreign private issuer.

Our shareholders may face difficulties in protecting their interests because we are a Cayman Islands exempted company.

Our corporate affairs are governed by our Articles of Association, by the Companies Law (as amended) of the Cayman Islands, or “Cayman Companies Law,” and the common law of the Cayman Islands. The rights of our shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors under the laws of the Cayman Islands are not as clearly defined as under statutes or judicial precedent in existence in jurisdictions in the United States. Therefore, you may have more difficulty protecting your interests than would shareholders of a corporation incorporated in a jurisdiction in the United States, due to the comparatively less formal nature of Cayman Islands law in this area.

While Cayman Islands law allows a dissenting shareholder to express the shareholder’s view that a court-sanctioned reorganization of a Cayman Islands company would not provide fair value for the shareholder’s shares, Cayman Islands statutory law does not specifically provide for shareholder appraisal rights in connection with a merger or consolidation of a company. This may make it more difficult for you to assess the value of any consideration you may receive in a merger or consolidation or to require that the acquirer gives you additional consideration if you believe the consideration offered is insufficient. However, Cayman Islands statutory law provides a mechanism for a dissenting shareholder in a merger or consolidation to apply to the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands, or the “Grand Court,” for a determination of the fair value of the dissenter’s shares if it is not possible for the company and the dissenter to agree on a fair price within the time limits prescribed.

Shareholders of Cayman Islands exempted companies (such as us) have no general rights under Cayman Islands law to inspect corporate records and accounts or to obtain copies of lists of shareholders. Our directors have discretion under our Articles of Association to determine whether or not, and under what conditions, our corporate records may be inspected by our shareholders, but are not obliged to make them available to our shareholders. This may make it more difficult for you to obtain information needed to establish any facts necessary for a shareholder motion or to solicit proxies from other shareholders in connection with a proxy contest.

Under Cayman Islands’ law, a minority shareholder may bring a derivative action against the board of directors only in very limited circumstances, or seek to wind up the company on a just and equitable ground. Class actions are not recognized in the Cayman Islands, but groups of shareholders with identical interests may bring representative proceedings, which are similar.

Under Cayman Islands statutory law, a transferee to a scheme or contract involving the transfer of shares in a Cayman Islands company, which has been approved by holders of not less than 90% in value of the shares affected, has the power to compulsorily acquire the shares of any dissenting shareholders. An objection to such acquisition can be made to the Grand Court by any dissenting shareholder but this is unlikely to succeed in the case of an offer which has been so approved unless there is evidence of fraud, bad faith or collusion. A Cayman Islands company may also propose a compromise or arrangement with its shareholders or any class of them. If a majority in number, representing at least 75% in value, of shareholders agrees to the compromise or arrangement then, subject to Grand Court approval of the same, it is binding on all of the shareholders. A shareholder may appear at the Grand Court hearing by which the company seeks the Grand Court’s approval of the compromise or arrangement to oppose it.

 

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United States civil liabilities and certain judgments obtained against us by our shareholders may not be enforceable.

We are a Cayman Islands exempted company and substantially all of our assets are located outside the United States. In addition, the majority of our directors and officers are nationals and residents of countries other than the United States. A substantial portion of the assets of these persons is located outside the United States. As a result, it may be difficult to effect service of process within the United States upon these persons. It may also be difficult to enforce in judgments obtained in U.S. courts based on the civil liability provisions of U.S. federal securities laws against us and our officers and directors who are not resident in the United States.

Further, it is unclear if original actions predicated on civil liabilities based solely upon U.S. federal securities laws are enforceable in courts outside the United States, including in the Cayman Islands and Brazil. Courts of the Cayman Islands may not, in an original action in the Cayman Islands, recognize or enforce judgments of U.S. courts predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the securities laws of the United States or any state of the United States on the grounds that such provisions are penal in nature. Although there is no statutory enforcement in the Cayman Islands of judgments obtained in the United States, courts of the Cayman Islands will recognize and enforce a foreign judgment of a court of competent jurisdiction if such judgment is final, for a liquidated sum, provided it is not in respect of taxes or a fine or penalty, is not inconsistent with a Cayman Islands’ judgment in respect of the same matters, and is not impeachable under Cayman Islands law for fraud, being in breach of public policy of the Cayman Islands or being contrary to natural justice. In addition, a Cayman Islands court may stay proceedings if concurrent proceedings are being brought elsewhere.

Judgments of Brazilian courts to enforce our obligations with respect to our Class A common shares may be payable only in reais.

Most of our assets are located in Brazil. If proceedings are brought in the courts of Brazil seeking to enforce our obligations in respect of our Class A common shares, we may not be required to discharge our obligations in a currency other than the real. Under Brazilian exchange control laws, an obligation in Brazil to pay amounts denominated in a currency other than the real may only be satisfied in Brazilian currency at the exchange rate, as determined by the Central Bank, in effect on the date the judgment is obtained, and such amounts are then adjusted to reflect exchange rate variations through the effective payment date. The then-prevailing exchange rate may not fully compensate non-Brazilian investors for any claim arising out of or related to our obligations under the Class A common shares.

There could be adverse tax consequences for our U.S. shareholders if we are a passive foreign investment company.

U.S. shareholders of passive foreign investment companies are subject to potentially adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences. In general, a non-U.S. corporation is a passive foreign investment company, or PFIC, for any taxable year in which (i) 75% or more of its gross income consists of passive income; or (ii) 50% or more of the average quarterly value of its assets consists of assets that produce, or are held for the production of, passive income. For purposes of the above calculations, a non-U.S. corporation that owns, directly or indirectly, at least 25% by value of the shares of another corporation is treated as if it held its proportionate share of the assets of the other corporation and received directly its proportionate share of the income of the other corporation. Cash is a passive asset for these purposes.

Based on the expected composition of our income and assets, including goodwill, we do not believe that we currently are a PFIC. However, our PFIC status is a factual determination that is made on an annual basis. Because our PFIC status for any taxable year will depend on the manner in which we operate our business, the composition of our income and assets and the value of our assets from time to time, there can be no assurance that we will not be a PFIC for any taxable year.

 

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If we are a PFIC, U.S. holders would be subject to certain adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences as discussed under “Material U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations for U.S. Holders.” Investors should consult their own tax advisors regarding all aspects of the application of the PFIC rules.

We may raise additional capital in the future by issuing equity securities, which may result in a potential dilution of your equity interest.

We may issue additional equity securities to raise capital, make acquisitions, or for a variety of other purposes. Additional issuances of our shares may be made pursuant to the exercise or conversion of convertible debt securities, warrants, stock options or other equity incentive awards. Any strategic partnership, issuance or placement of shares and/or securities convertible into or exchangeable for shares may affect the market price of our shares and could result in dilution of your equity interest.

 

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CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This prospectus contains statements that constitute forward-looking statements. Many of the forward-looking statements contained in this prospectus can be identified by the use of forward-looking words such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “could,” “expect,” “should,” “plan,” “intend,” “may,” “predict,” “continue,” “estimate” and “potential,” or the negative of these terms or other similar expressions.

Forward-looking statements appear in a number of places in this prospectus and include, but are not limited to, statements regarding our intent, belief or current expectations. These forward-looking statements include information about possible or assumed future results of our business, financial condition, results of operations, liquidity, plans and objectives. Forward-looking statements are based on our management’s beliefs and assumptions and on information currently available to our management. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements due to various factors, including, but not limited to, those identified under the section entitled “Risk Factors” in this prospectus. The statements we make regarding the following matters are forward-looking by their nature:

 

   

our expectations regarding revenues generated by transaction activities, subscription and equipment rental fees and other services;

 

   

our expectations regarding our operating and net profit margins;

 

   

our expectations regarding significant drivers of our future growth;

 

   

our plans to continue to invest in research and development to develop technology for both existing and new products and services;

 

   

our ability to differentiate ourselves from our competition by delivering a superior customer experience and through our network of hyper-local sales and services;

 

   

our ability to attract and retain a qualified management team and other team members while controlling our labor costs;

 

   

our plans to expand our global footprint and explore opportunities in adjacent sectors;

 

   

competition adversely affecting our profitability;

 

   

fluctuations in interest, inflation and exchange rates in Brazil and any other countries we may serve in the future;

 

   

the inherent risks related to the digital payments market, such as the interruption, failure or breach of our computer or information technology systems;

 

   

our ability to anticipate market needs and develop and introduce new and enhanced products and service functionalities to adapt to changes in our industry;

 

   

our ability to innovate and respond to technological advances and changing market needs and customer demands;

 

   

our ability to maintain, protect and enhance our brand and intellectual property;

 

   

changes in consumer demands and preferences and technological advances, and our ability to innovate in order to respond to such changes;

 

   

our failure to successfully maintain a relevant omni-channel experience for our clients, thereby adversely impacting our results of operations;

 

   

our ability to implement technology initiatives successfully and to capture the anticipated benefits of such initiatives; and

 

   

our plans to pursue and successfully integrate strategic acquisitions.

 

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Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and we do not undertake any obligation to update them in light of new information or future developments or to release publicly any revisions to these statements in order to reflect later events or circumstances or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

 

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USE OF PROCEEDS

We will not receive any proceeds from the sale of shares by the selling shareholders. The selling shareholders are selling all of the Class A common shares in this offering, including from any exercise by the underwriters of their option to purchase additional shares.

 

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DIVIDENDS AND DIVIDEND POLICY

We currently intend to retain all available funds and any future earnings, if any, to fund the development and expansion of our business and we do not anticipate paying any cash dividends in the foreseeable future. Any future determination to pay dividends will be made at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend on various factors, including applicable laws, our results of operations, financial condition, future prospects and any other factors deemed relevant by our board of directors.

Under the Cayman Companies Law and our Articles of Association, a Cayman Islands company may pay a dividend out of either its profit or share premium account, but a dividend may not be paid if this would result in the company being unable to pay its debts as they fall due in the ordinary course of business. According to our Articles of Association, dividends can be declared and paid out of funds lawfully available to us, which include the share premium account. Dividends, if any, would be paid in proportion to the number of common shares a shareholder holds. For further information, see “Taxation—Cayman Islands Tax Considerations.”

Additionally, please refer to “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry—Our holding company structure makes us dependent on the operations of our subsidiaries.” Our ability to pay dividends is directly related to positive and distributable net results from our Brazilian subsidiaries. If, due to new laws or bilateral agreements between countries, our Brazilian subsidiaries are unable to pay dividends to Cayman Islands companies such as us, or if Cayman Islands companies such as us become incapable of receiving them, we may not be able to make dividend payments in the future.

 

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EXCHANGE RATES

The Brazilian foreign exchange system allows the purchase and sale of foreign currency and the international transfer of reais by any person or legal entity, regardless of the amount, subject to certain regulatory procedures.

The real depreciated against the U.S. dollar from mid-2011 to early 2016. In particular, during 2015, due to the poor economic conditions in Brazil, including as a result of political instability, the real depreciated at a rate that was much higher than in previous years. On September 24, 2015, the real fell to its lowest level since the introduction of the currency, at R$4.1945 per US$1.00. Overall in 2015, the real depreciated 47.0%, reaching R$3.9048 per US$1.00 on December 31, 2015. In 2016, the real fluctuated significantly, primarily as a result of Brazil’s political instability, appreciating 16.5% to R$3.2591 per US$1.00 on December 31, 2016. In 2017, the real depreciated 1.5% against the U.S. dollar, ending the year at an exchange rate of R$3.308 per U.S.$1.00. The real/U.S. dollar exchange rate reported by the Central Bank was R$3.8748 per U.S.$1.00 on December 31, 2018, which reflected a 17.1% depreciation in the real against the U.S. dollar during 2018, primarily as a result of lower interest rates in Brazil, which reduced the volume of foreign currency deposited in Brazil in the “carry trade,” as well as uncertainty regarding the results of the Brazilian presidential elections held in October 2018. The real/U.S. dollar exchange rate reported by the Central Bank was R$3.8815 per U.S.$1.00 on March 22, 2019, which reflected a 0.2% depreciation in the real against the U.S. dollar since December 31, 2018. There can be no assurance that the real will not depreciate or appreciate further against the U.S. dollar.

The following table sets forth, for the periods indicated, the high, low, average and period-end exchange rates for the purchase of U.S. dollars expressed in Brazilian reais per U.S. dollar. The average rate is calculated by using the average of reported exchange rates by the Central Bank on each business day during each annual or monthly period, as applicable. As of March 29, 2019, the exchange rate for the purchase of U.S. dollars as reported by the Central Bank was R$3.8967 per US$1.00.

 

Year

   Period-end      Average(1)      Low      High  

2014

     2.6562        2.3599        2.1974        2.7403  

2015

     3.9048        3.3876        2.5754        4.1949  

2016

     3.2591        3.4500        3.1193        4.1558  

2017

     3.3080        3.193        3.0510        3.3807  

2018

     3.8748        3.6796        3.1391        4.1879  

 

Month

   Period-end      Average(2)      Low      High  

September 2018

     4.0039        4.1165        4.0039        4.1879  

October 2018

     3.7177        3.7584        3.6368        4.0273  

November 2018

     3.8633        3.7852        3.6973        3.8925  

December 2018

     3.8748        3.8851        3.8285        3.9330  

January 2019

     3.6519        3.7416        3.6519        3.8595  

February 2019

     3.7385        3.7236        3.6694        3.7756  

March 2019 (through March 29, 2019)

     3.8967        3.8470        3.7762        3.9682  

 

Source: Central Bank.

(1)

Represents the average of the exchange rates on the closing of each business day during the year.

(2)

Represents the average of the exchange rates on the closing of each business day during the month.

 

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SELECTED FINANCIAL AND OTHER INFORMATION

The following tables set forth, for the periods and as of the dates indicated, our selected financial and other information. This information should be read in conjunction with “Presentation of Financial and Other Information,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” and our consolidated financial statements, including the notes thereto, included elsewhere in this prospectus.

The summary statement of profit or loss and statement of financial position data as of December 31, 2018 and 2017 and for the each of the three years ended December 31, 2018 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements prepared in accordance with IFRS as issued by the IASB, included elsewhere in this prospectus. The statement of financial position date as of December 31, 2016, is derived from our audited consolidated financial statements previously filed.

 

     For the Year Ended December 31,  
     2018      2018      2017      2016  
     (US$)(1)      (R$)  
     (in millions, except amounts per share)  

Statement of profit or loss data:

           

Net revenue from transaction activities and other services

     132.8        514.6        224.2        121.1  

Net revenue from subscription services and equipment rental

     55.1        213.7        105.0        54.7  

Financial income

     206.8        801.3        412.2        247.4  

Other financial income

     12.8        49.6        25.3        16.7  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total revenue and income

     407.5        1,579.2        766.6        439.9  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Cost of services

     (83.4      (323.0      (224.1      (133.2

Administrative expenses

     (65.3      (252.9      (174.6      (106.1

Selling expenses

     (49.1      (190.2      (92.0      (49.5

Financial expenses, net

     (77.7      (301.1      (237.1      (244.7

Other operating income (expense), net

     (17.9      (69.3      (134.2      (55.7

(Loss) income from investment in associates

     (0.1      (0.4      (0.3      0.1  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Profit (loss) before income taxes

     114.2        442.3        (95.7      (149.2
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Income tax and social contribution

     (35.4      (137.1      (9.3      27.0  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Net income (loss) for the year

     78.8        305.2        (105.0      (122.2
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Net income (loss) attributable to non-controlling interests

     1.0        4.0        3.8        (2.4

Net income (loss) attributable to owners of the parent

     77.7        301.2        (108.7      (119.8

Basic earnings (loss) per share(2)

   US$ 0.34      R$ 1.30      R$ (0.49    R$ (0.61

Diluted earnings (loss) per share(2)

   US$ 0.33      R$ 1.29      R$ (0.49    R$ (0.61

 

(1)

For convenience purposes only, amounts in reais for the year ended December 31, 2018 have been translated to U.S. dollars using an exchange rate of R$3.875 to US$1.00, the commercial selling rate for U.S. dollars as of December 31, 2018 as reported by the Central Bank. These translations should not be considered representations that any such amounts have been, could have been or could be converted at that or any other exchange rate. See “Exchange Rates” for further information about recent fluctuations in exchange rates.

 

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(2)

Calculated by dividing net income or loss for the year attributed to the owners of the parent, adjusted for losses allocated to contractual rights and participating instruments, by the weighted average number of ordinary shares outstanding during the period. See note 23 to our consolidated financial statements.

 

     As of December 31,  
     2018      2018      2017      2016  
     (US$ millions)(1)      (R$ millions)  

Statement of financial position data:

           

Assets

           

Current assets

           

Cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments

     791.9        3,068.5        843.7        237.0  

Accounts receivable from card issuers

     2,385.7        9,244.6        5,078.4        3,052.6  

Other current assets

     32.2        124.7        77.4        29.5  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total current assets

     3,209.8        12,437.8        5,999.5        3,319.1  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total non-current assets

     220.8        855.4        636.2        520.2  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total assets

     3,430.5        13,293.2        6,635.7        3,839.2  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Liabilities and Equity

           

Current liabilities

           

Accounts payable to clients

     1,289.3        4,996.1        3,637.5        3,029.3  

Other current liabilities

     273.2        1,058.7        186.1        92.6  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total current liabilities

     1,562.5        6,054.8        3,823.6        3,121.9  

Non-current liabilities

           

Obligations to FIDC senior quota holders

     531.1        2,057.9        2,056.3        —    

Other non-current liabilities

     22.6        87.6        273.3        130.1  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total non-current liabilities

     553.7        2,145.5        2,329.6        130.1  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total liabilities

     2,116.2        8,200.2        6,153.2        3,252.0  

Total equity

     1,314.3        5,093.0        482.6        587.2  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total liabilities and equity

     3,430.5        13,293.2        6,635.7        3,839.2  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

(1)

For convenience purposes only, amounts in reais for the year ended December 31, 2018 have been translated to U.S. dollars using an exchange rate of R$3.875 to US$1.00, the commercial selling rate for U.S. dollars as of December 31, 2018 as reported by the Central Bank. These translations should not be considered representations that any such amounts have been, could have been or could be converted at that or any other exchange rate. See “Exchange Rates” for further information about recent fluctuations in exchange rates.

 

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MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS

OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

The following discussion of our financial condition and results of operations should be read in conjunction with our audited consolidated financial statements as of December 31, 2018 and 2017 and for each of the three years in the period ended December 31, 2018 and the notes thereto, included elsewhere in this prospectus, as well as the information presented under “Presentation of Financial and Other Information,” “Summary Financial and Other Information” and “Selected Financial and Other Information.”

The following discussion contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results and the timing of events may differ materially from those expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including those set forth in “Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward–Looking Statements” and “Risk Factors.”

Overview

We are a leading provider of financial technology solutions that empower merchants and integrated partners to conduct electronic commerce seamlessly across in-store, online, and mobile channels. We have developed a deep client-centric culture that seeks to delight our clients rather than to simply provide them with a solution or service. To achieve this, we created a proprietary, go-to-market approach called the Stone Business Model, which enables us to create and adapt the client experience and interact with our clients through our people and technology. The Stone Business Model combines our advanced, end-to-end, cloud-based technology platform; differentiated hyper-local and integrated distribution approach; and white-glove, on-demand customer service. The Stone Business Model is disruptive and has enabled us to gain significant traction in only five years since the launch of our service. In 2017, we also became the first non-bank entity to obtain authorization from the Central Bank of Brazil to operate as a Merchant Acquirer Payments Institution. In 2018, we ranked as the largest independent merchant acquirer in Brazil and the fourth largest based on total volume in Brazil, according to data from public filings.

We currently serve over 267,000 active clients of all sizes and types that transact online, offline or have an omni-channel sales approach, though our focus is primarily on targeting the approximately 8.8 million small-and-medium-sized businesses, or SMBs, in Brazil. We also served over 108 integrated partners as of December 2018, which use or embed our solutions into their own offerings to enable their customers to conduct commerce more conveniently in Brazil. These integrated partners include global payment service providers, or PSP’s, digital marketplaces, and integrated software vendors, or ISVs. Since the roll-out of our Stone Business Model, we have rapidly grown our client base with a particular focus on the SMB market. As a result, our volume concentration has diminished over time. Our top ten clients represented 25.0% of TPV for the year ended December 31, 2018, which represents a 3% decrease from 28.0% for the year ended December 31, 2017. In addition, as the chart below highlights, our focus on SMB merchants has enabled us to grow our take rate from 1.55% in the first quarter of 2017 to 1.88% in the fourth quarter of 2018, representing 33 basis points of improvement in the period.

 

 

LOGO

 

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The following is a summary of our key operational and financial highlights:

 

   

We generated R$1,579.2 million of total revenue and income in the year ended December 31, 2018, compared to R$766.6 million in the year ended December 31, 2017, representing period over period growth of 106.0%. In 2017, we generated R$766.6 million of total revenue and income, compared to R$439.9 million of total revenue and income in 2016, representing annual growth of 74.3%.

 

   

We served approximately 267,900 active clients as of December 31, 2018, compared to approximately 131,200 as of December 31, 2017, representing period over period growth of 104.2%. As of December 31, 2017, we served approximately 131,200 active clients, compared to approximately 82,000 as of December 31, 2016, representing 60.1% annual growth.

 

   

We generated net income of R$305.2 million and adjusted net income of R$342.8 million in the year ended December 31, 2018, compared to a loss of R$105.0 million and adjusted net income of R$45.1 million in the year ended December 31, 2017. In 2017, we generated a loss of R$105.0 million and adjusted net income of R$45.1 million, compared to a loss of R$122.2 million and adjusted net loss of R$51.9 million in 2016. See “Summary Financial and Other Information” for a reconciliation of adjusted net income (loss) to our profit (loss) for the period.

 

   

We processed TPV of R$83.4 billion in 2018, compared to R$48.5 billion in 2017, representing period over period growth of 71.8%. In 2017, we processed TPV of R$48.5 billion, compared to R$28.1 billion in 2016, representing 72.6% annual growth.

Significant Factors Affecting our Results of Operations

Total Payments Volume and Processing Fees

We derive a substantial part of our revenue from fees earned as a percentage of the TPV of our clients. Our TPV is primarily driven by:

 

   

Growth of volume within our active client base. As our active clients grow their transaction volume, our TPV will also grow. Our active clients are positioned in attractive growth market segments. Our focus is primarily on targeting the approximately 8.8 million SMBs in Brazil, which we believe have historically been underserved. In addition, despite the large size of Brazil’s economy, we believe its Payments market, particularly among SMBs in small and medium cities, remains less penetrated and has greater growth upside than more mature economies, such as the U.S. and the U.K. We also target the e-commerce market, which is expected to grow faster than the overall Payments markets in Brazil.

 

   

Growth of our active client base. Growth of our active clients is driven by (i) growth in the number of merchants resulting from openings and ramp-up of Stone Hubs; (ii) growth in the number of integrated partners in specific verticals and niche market segments; (iii) growth in our e-commerce merchant base.

Our quarterly TPV grew 126.8% in a two-year period, from R$11.7 billion for the quarter ended December 31, 2016 to R$26.6 billion for the quarter ended December 31, 2018, and our number of active clients expanded 226.8% over the same period, from approximately 82,000 active clients as of December 31, 2016 to approximately 267,900 active clients as of December 31, 2018, as shown in the graphs below.

 

LOGO   LOGO

 

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A significant part of our net revenues is generated through fees we charge for providing end-to-end processing services using the Stone Technology Platform, which include the authorization, capture, transmission, processing and settlement of transactions. In the case of e-commerce merchants, we may additionally charge a fixed fee per transaction to provide gateway services.

The fees we charge our clients for processing services are subject to a variety of external factors such as competition, interchange and assessment fees and other macroeconomic factors, such as interest rates, inflation, among others. Our ability to sustain or increase our fees depends on our ability to continue to execute on our Stone Business Model and sustain a competitive advantage.

Adoption of our commerce-enabling solutions

We leverage our active client base and distribution capabilities to generate subscription-based revenue and upsell new solutions that we may develop or acquire.

Growth of recurring revenue from our active client base

In addition to net revenues driven by payment processing, we also generate revenues from fixed monthly subscription fees paid by our active client base. These fees are charged for providing different combinations of integrated service and solutions offerings to support our clients’ businesses, depending on their specific needs. These services can include, among others, POS rental, reconciliation solutions, and business automation solutions.

We may also generate additional revenues within our active client base by upselling new solutions as they are developed or acquired. We expect that, by executing this strategy, we will increase the lifetime value of our active client base. We expect to leverage our distribution capabilities through our Stone Hubs to increase penetration of our solutions at minimal incremental costs.

Working capital solutions

We provide working capital solutions to help merchants manage their cash flows more effectively. We offer our merchants prepayment options for their future expected receivables from credit card installments and we charge a discount rate equivalent to a percentage of the total volume requested to be prepaid. The discount rate depends on factors such as merchant size, the maturity of receivables to be prepaid, and local market dynamics. An overall increase in TPV generally increases financial income from our working capital solutions due to an overall increase in the volume of prepayments. Higher levels of installment transactions usually lead to higher demand for our working capital solutions. On the other hand, a smaller share of credit transactions leads to a decrease in the ratio of financial income from our working capital solutions relative to total revenue and income, since debit card transactions are not eligible for prepayment.

Due to our working capital solutions offering, optimizing funding costs is a key driver of our margins. Through the date of this offering, we have funded prepayments to our active client base by (i) selling receivable rights owed to us by card issuers to banks we hold a commercial relationship with, or to special purpose investment funds, Fundo de Investimento de Direitos Creditórios (Fund for Investment in Credit Rights) or FIDCs, controlled by us that exclusively buy these receivables such as FIDC AR1 or AR2, (ii) using proceeds from general third-party borrowings, and (iii) using our own capital. For further information on our FIDCs, see “—Description of Principal Line Items—Financial Expenses, Net” and note 18 of our audited consolidated financial statements. Our funding costs are primarily affected by our capital structure, interest rates, availability of third-party receivables financing on attractive terms, and our ability to continue to attract investment into our FIDC AR1 and FIDC AR2 on attractive terms. See “Business—Our Solutions—Grow Our Clients’ Businesses.”

 

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Complement Solutions Offerings through Acquisition and Investment Activity

We have an established track record of investing, acquiring and integrating complementary technology solutions and businesses. Future acquisitions will likely remain an important part of our competitive strategy in order to enhance our portfolio of offerings and execute ISV strategies within specific verticals. Since January 1, 2016, we have made seven acquisitions and minority investments. Five of these have been of businesses or technologies which have strengthened our solutions offerings. In addition, our acquisition of Elavon do Brasil Soluções de Pagamento S.A., or EdB, on April 22, 2016 allowed us to expand our TPV and number of active clients, thereby increasing total revenue and income.

The financial impact of acquisitions may affect the comparability of our results from period to period. In addition to the revenues and expenses associated with such acquisitions only being included in our financial results for any period upon the closing of the acquisition, we will incur transaction and other expenses associated with acquisitions, including amortization of intangibles relating to those acquisitions, which we expect will negatively impact our profit (loss). Amortization of intangibles related to acquisitions can vary substantially from company to company and from period to period depending upon the applicable financing and accounting methods, the fair value and average expected life of the acquired intangible assets, the capital structure and the method by which the intangible assets were acquired. See “—Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates—Estimated useful life of intangible assets.”

In connection with the acquisition of EdB and certain other entities, we recorded amortization expense for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016 of R$12.6 million, R$14.8 million and R$17.2 million, respectively, related to the fair value adjustment on intangible assets, primarily software, and property and equipment, as a result of the application of the acquisition method.

Economies of scale resulting from our Stone Technology Platform

Our advanced, end-to-end, cloud-based technology platform allows us to grow our volumes and increase the number of active clients while reducing marginal transaction and operational costs.

Due to the relatively fixed cost nature of this platform, which relies on our data-centers and our internal team of engineers and developers, we expect that, as TPV grows, our cost per transaction will continue to decrease. The technologically advanced and integrated nature of our platform also allows us to run our operations in a cost-effective manner, by reducing the need for operational personnel and allowing several processes to be run with a high level of automation. For example, we are able to quickly onboard merchants because our platform is able to combine different sources of data and run automatic risk checks within minutes. Also, our Green Angels team of operations and support personnel allows us to improve POS deployment costs as we further penetrate and grow our active client base within our Stone Hubs.

Timing differential between future revenues generated and operational investments

In executing the Stone Business Model, we expect to incur initial operational investments in periods prior to the realization of any future revenues associated with this upfront investment. For example, in the process of opening a new Stone Hub, we incur the expense of hiring a team of Stone Missionaries and Green Angels to set up the operation. As sales productivity from this Stone Hub ramps up and marginal operational costs are reduced, we realize greater contribution margins from our Stone Hubs. With the deployment of new and better technologies, management processes and training, we expect the productivity of our Stone Business Model to improve over time.

Interchange and assessment fees

Our revenue from processing services is mainly composed of the net merchant discount rate, or net MDR, which is a commission withheld by us from the transaction value paid to the merchant. Our net revenue from

 

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MDR is defined as the total MDR charged to our merchants, net of interchange fees retained by card issuers, assessment fees charged by payment scheme settlors and sales taxes. Interchange fees are set by the payment schemes according to certain variables, including the type of card product (e.g. credit vs debit), merchant segment, type of card (e.g. standard, gold, premium, business, others), transaction type (e.g. online vs POS terminal) and the origin of the card (international vs. domestic). Assessment fees are charged per transaction by the payment scheme settlors, such as Visa and Mastercard, to cover the cost of providing access to their payment network.

We are unable to predict if or when payment schemes will increase or decrease their fees or what the amount of any such variations may be. Our standard contract with our clients allows us to re-adjust our rates and tariffs by notice to the merchant to offset any increase in interchange fees. However, our ability to adjust our pricing remains subject to a variety of factors, including competition from other payment providers, market conditions and, in certain cases, direct price negotiations with the merchant. As a result, at times, we might not be able or willing to pass through all increases or decreases in assessment and/or interchange fees to our clients, and therefore, increases or decreases in these fees may reduce or increase our revenue from processing services.

On March 26, 2018, the Central Bank of Brazil issued a ruling whereby the interchange fees on debit cards will be subject to a cap of up to 0.8% on debit transactions, effective October 2018. Furthermore, debit card issuers must maintain a maximum average interchange fee of 0.5% on their total transaction volume. Before this ruling, no such cap existed. We expect that, as a result of such ruling, interchange fees passed through, and overall prices charged to, merchants may change.

For further information, see “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry—If we cannot pass increases in fees from payment schemes, including assessment, interchange, transaction and other fees, along to our merchants, our operating margins will decline,” and “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry—Certain ongoing legislative and regulatory initiatives under discussion by the Brazilian Congress, the Central Bank and the broader payments industry, which may result in changes in the regulatory framework of the Brazilian payments and financial industries and may have an adverse effect on the Company.”

Reclassification of liability-classified share-based compensation expense

Prior to our initial public offering, certain of our outstanding share-based compensation awards were liability-classified. In particular:

 

   

Class C Shares. Certain of our founding partners and senior executives received a one-time issuance of fully-vested Class C shares (as classified under our Articles of Association in effect prior to the consummation of the initial public offering) as compensation for services rendered to us. These shares were subject to a lock-up period, and their terms provided Stone Co. with the right to redeem or repurchase such shares at any time at a price to be determined by our board of directors. Prior to January 2018, as our founding partners were deemed to have the power to cause the Company to redeem or repurchase shares beneficially owned by the founding partners, the fair value of the redemption or repurchase price related to the Class C shares beneficially owned by the founding partners was recorded as a liability in our financial statements. During the periods that these Class C shares were liability classified, the liability was adjusted to fair value at each reporting date through profit or loss.

 

   

Co-Investment Shares. Certain employees were also granted incentive shares, or the Co-Investment Shares, in one of our subsidiaries. These Co-Investment Shares are subject to a lock-up period and a discounted buy-back feature to be exercised by Stone Co. if the employee leaves prior to lockup expiration. As a result, the Co-Investment Shares were recorded as a liability in our financial statements. DLP Capital, LLC and DLP Par Participações S.A. each have a 90-day option to repurchase the Co-Investment Shares at the price of the most recent capital increase of DLP Pagamentos Brasil S.A. following expiration of the lock-up period and adjusted by 110% of the CDI Rate.

 

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In January 2018, the terms of the articles of association of the entity wholly owned by the founding partners and senior executives that held the Class C shares were modified to create an independent committee to approve any share redemptions or repurchases beneficially owned by the founding partners within the vehicle (including the redemption of Class C shares of Stone Co.). As such, as of January 31, 2018, all outstanding Class C Shares held by the founding partners were reclassified to equity in our financial statements.

On July 17, 2018, we repurchased and immediately canceled 1,814,022 of the Class C shares. The total purchase price per Class C share amounted to 90% of the price per Class A common share sold in our initial public offering, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions. Pursuant to the terms of the repurchase, the initial aggregate payment for this repurchase was R$63.2 million and was paid upon repurchase, with an additional aggregate payment of R$79.2 million paid to this entity.

In addition, in connection with our initial public offering, the Co-Investment Shares and Class C shares were reclassified into common shares pursuant to our amended and restated Articles of Association.

Accordingly, we do not have any outstanding Class C shares or Co-Investment Shares, and due to the modification of the articles of association noted above and the reclassification of the Co-Investment Shares (and associated removal of the Co-Investment Shares’ discounted buyback feature), after our initial public offering, we no longer had any liability-classified share-based compensation or related fair value adjustments impacting our profit or loss.

Macroeconomic Environment

The vast majority of our operations are located in Brazil. As a result, our revenues and profitability are subject to political and economic developments and the effect that these factors have on the availability of credit, disposable income, employment rates and average wages in Brazil. Our results of operations are affected by levels of consumer spending, interest rates and the expansion or retraction of consumer credit in Brazil, each of which impacts the number and overall value of payment transactions. For more information, see “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Brazil—Political instability and economic uncertainty in Brazil, including in relation to country-wide corruption probes, may adversely affect the price of our Class A common shares and our business, operations and financial condition.”

The following table shows data for real GDP, inflation and interest rates in Brazil and the U.S. dollar/real exchange rate at the dates and for the periods indicated.

 

     For the Year Ended December 31,  
         2018             2017             2016      

Real growth (contraction) in gross domestic product

     1.1     1.0     (3.5 %) 

Inflation (IGP-M)(1)

     7.6     (0.5 %)      7.2

Inflation (IPCA)(2)

     3.7     2.9     6.3

Long-term interest rates–TJLP (average)(3)

     6.7     7.0     7.5

CDI interest rate (average)(4)

     6.5     10.1     14.1

Period-end exchange rate—reais per US$ 1.00

     3.875       3.308       3.259  

Average exchange rate—reais per US$ 1.00(5)

     3.656       3.193       3.483  

Appreciation (depreciation) of the real vs. US$ in the period(6)

     (12.7 %)      (1.5 %)      16.6

Unemployment rate(7)

     12.3     12.7     11.5

 

Source: FGV, IBGE, Central Bank and Bloomberg.

(1)

Inflation (IGP-M) is the general market price index measured by the FGV.

(2)

Inflation (IPCA) is a broad consumer price index measured by the IBGE.

(3)

TJLP is the Brazilian long-term interest rate (average of monthly rates for the period).

 

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(4)

The CDI (certificado de deposito interbancário) Rate is an average of interbank overnight rates in Brazil (daily average for the period).

(5)

Average of the exchange rate on each business day of the year.

(6)

Comparing the US$ closing selling exchange rate as reported by the Central Bank at the end of the period’s last day with the day immediately prior to the first day of the period discussed.

(7)

Average unemployment rate for the year, as measured by the IBGE.

Interest rate

Interest rates have an effect on our ability to generate revenue. While higher interest rates can lead to decreases in private consumption, negatively impacting our TPV, they may also positively correlate to prepayment spreads, positively impacting our results to the extent that we are able to increase our prices in excess of increases in funding costs.

Inflation

Inflation has an effect on our obligations towards certain suppliers, such as office leasing and telecommunications operators, whose costs are indexed to inflation rates. However, most of our revenues are naturally hedged against inflation, since our TPV also tends to fluctuate according to inflation. When merchants adjust their prices for inflation, the purchasing power of consumers may be reduced, which may adversely affect our revenue if it results in a reduction in the number and volume of transactions. However, if our merchants raise their prices due to inflation, this will positively impact our TPV and, consequently, our revenues.

Currency fluctuations

The results of our operations are primarily denominated in reais (R$). However, our results may be subject to currency fluctuations as we hold cash, accounts payable and receivables denominated in foreign currency (primarily U.S. dollars). For example, we process transactions originated from our active client base in Brazil with credit cards issued by foreign banks that are settled in a foreign currency. In addition, we purchase items that have their prices partially indexed to U.S. dollars, such as POS devices, other equipment and our data centers. To partially offset our exchange rate risk, we may use derivative contracts. For the year ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, we had a net foreign currency gain (loss) of R$(5.8) million, R$8.1 million and R$(36.1) million, respectively.

Seasonality

We have experienced in the past, and expect to continue to experience, seasonal fluctuations in our revenues as a result of consumer spending patterns. Historically, our revenues have been strongest during the last quarter of each year as a result of higher sales during the Brazilian holiday season. This is due to the increase in the number and amount of electronic payment transactions related to seasonal retail events. Adverse events that occur during these months could have a disproportionate effect on its results of operations for the entire fiscal year. As a result of quarterly fluctuations caused by these and other factors, comparisons of our operating results across different fiscal quarters may not be accurate indicators of our future performance. For additional information, see “Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Our Business and Industry—Our operating results are subject to seasonality, which could result in fluctuations in our quarterly profit.”

EdB Acquisition

On April 22, 2016, we completed the acquisition of EdB, a payments company formed in 2010 as a joint venture between Elavon, Inc. (“Elavon Inc.”), USB Americas Holding Company and Banco Citibank S.A. We acquired 100% of EdB’s equity for the purchase price of 1 real. Upon the acquisition, we implemented initiatives to improve the efficiency of operations and the liquidity of EdB. Such initiatives were funded through capital contributions of R$409.9 million.

 

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The EdB Acquisition enabled us to strengthen our position in the Brazilian payments market and to increase our transaction volume and access to a well-established portfolio of active clients and business partners. Of our total TPV of R$28.1 billion in 2016, 40.4% was processed on our processing platform and 59.6% was processed on Elavon Inc.’s legacy processing platform. Of our total TPV of R$48.5 billion in 2017, 69.3% was processed on our processing platform and 30.7% was processed on Elavon Inc.’s legacy processing platform. Of our total TPV of R$83.4 billion in 2018, 98% was processed on our processing platform and 2% was processed on Elavon Inc.’s legacy processing platform. This change in TPV on each platform was driven by organic growth of our active client base as well as the migration of merchants from Elavon Inc. to our processing platform. As a result of this migration, our margins have improved due to lower processing costs on our platform. As of the date of this prospectus, nearly all of EdB’s merchant base had been migrated to our processing platform. For further information, see note 5.1 of our audited financial statements.

In conjunction with the EdB Acquisition, EdB and Elavon Inc. entered into a Master Processing and Operational Services Agreement, or MPA, pursuant to which Elavon Inc. agreed to provide certain processing services to EdB. The MPA had an initial term of two years, but was subsequently extended to August 22, 2018. During the term of this agreement, we have paid payment processing fees to Elavon Inc. in connection with volumes processed on their platform. Prior to August 22, 2018, we negotiated an extension of the MPA exclusively for transactions carried out by one specific EdB client until October 31, 2018. As of the date of this prospectus, we no longer incur costs associated with authorization and capture of new transactions on the Elavon Inc. platform.

As a result of the EdB Acquisition, our results of operation for 2017 may not be comparable to 2016 due to the results of EdB only being included in our reported results from and after April 22, 2016.

Description of Principal Line Items

The following is a summary of the principal line items comprising our statement of profit or loss and other comprehensive income.

Total revenue and income

Our total revenue and income consists of the sum of our net revenue from transaction activities and other services, net revenue from subscription services and equipment rental, financial income and other financial income.

Net revenue from transaction activities and other services

Our net revenue from transaction activities and other services consists of commissions and fees charged for end-to-end processing services we provide through the Stone Technology Platform, which include the capture, routing, transmission, authorization, processing, and settlement of transactions, carried out using credit and debit cards, meal vouchers, boletos and other APMs. Our net revenue from transaction activities and other services consists mainly of net MDR, which is a commission withheld by us that is discounted from the transaction values paid to the merchant, and/or other per-transaction commissions for providing gateway services. We recognize revenue from transaction activities when the purchase transaction is captured. We recognize revenue from other services when the service is rendered. For more information on our revenue recognition policies, see note 3.14 of our audited financial statements. License fees paid to payment schemes are included in the cost of services as discussed below.

Our net MDR revenue is recognized net of interchange fees retained by card issuers, assessment fees charged by payment schemes and deductions. Such deductions consist primarily of the applicable Brazilian sales taxes and social security contributions: service tax (Imposto sobre Serviços, or ISS); contributions to the Brazilian government’s Social Integration Program (Programa de Integração Social, or PIS); and contributions

 

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to the Brazilian government’s social security program (Contribuição para o Financiamento da Seguridade Social, or COFINS). We are required to collect each of the above-mentioned taxes and contributions on our transaction activities and other services.

In the event of a chargeback, the net revenues associated with such transactions are deducted from net revenue from transaction activities and other services. Losses from chargebacks resulting from billing disputes are included in the cost of services as discussed below.

Net revenue from subscription services and equipment rental

We earn monthly recurring revenue from subscription services and equipment rental, which include rentals of electronic capture equipment and other solutions or services, such as reconciliation solutions and business automation solutions, among other services. Revenue generated by electronic capture equipment rental varies according to the value of the equipment, the quantity of equipment rented to a particular merchant and the location of the merchant. Each subscription service fee is charged as a fixed monthly fee and is either billed and deducted from the merchant’s transaction receivables or it is billed to the client monthly. We recognize revenue from subscription services as the services are rendered and from equipment rental on a straight-line basis over the contractual lease term.

The amounts deducted from our revenue from subscription services and equipment rentals consist primarily of the applicable Brazilian sales taxes and social security contributions, including ISS, PIS and COFINS. We are required to collect each of the above-mentioned taxes and contributions on our subscription services and equipment rentals when applicable.

Financial income

Financial income is generated by our working capital solutions and consists of fees charged for the prepayment of our clients’ receivables from credit card transactions. Some merchants allow cardholders to elect to pay for purchases in multiple installments. We allow our merchants to elect early payment of single or multiple installment receivables, less a prepayment fee.

The prepayment fee included in financial income is charged, in addition to our payment processing transaction fees, as described above under “—Net revenue from transaction processing and other services.” The prepayment fee is recognized as financial income once the merchant elects for the receivable to be prepaid. If the merchant elects prepayment of a receivable on a weekend or bank holiday, the prepayment fee will be recognized in financial income on the next business day when the merchant receivable is paid.

The expenses we incur in funding the prepayment of receivables are included in financial expenses as discussed below. For more information regarding our working capital solutions, see “Business—Our Solutions.”

Other financial income

Our other financial income consists principally of interest generated by funds held in interest-bearing bank accounts and by deposits we are required to make by the Brazilian courts, known as judicial deposits, which are legal reserves as security for any damages or settlements we may be required to pay as a result of litigation.

Cost of services

Our cost of services include transaction costs, depreciation and amortization, costs to deploy merchant equipment, personnel expenses related to customer service, technology, operations, logistics and other, payment

 

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scheme license fees, losses from chargebacks and other costs. For further information on these costs, see note 24 to our audited consolidated financial statements.

 

   

Transaction costs consist of amounts related to processing, data center costs, telecommunications costs related to leased terminals, third-party payment processor fees (principally associated with payments processed through Elavon Inc. for merchants acquired pursuant to the EdB Acquisition) and wire transfer costs.

 

   

Depreciation and amortization expenses allocated to cost of services and administrative and selling expenses. Depreciation and amortization included in our cost of services consists mainly of (i) depreciation of equipment leased to merchants, (ii) the amortization of software that we develop internally for use in our operations and (iii) depreciation of datacenter used in our processing operations.

 

   

Costs to deploy merchant equipment consist of third-party supplier logistics services and internal and external costs related to delivery of leased equipment to merchants and other supply chain costs.

 

   

Personnel expenses are divided between cost of services and administrative expenses and selling expenses. Personnel expenses included in cost of services relate to customer relations personnel, certain personnel in our technology team, logistics personnel, and other personnel that support our transaction processing and other services.

 

   

Payment scheme license fees under cost of services are fees paid to Visa, Mastercard and other card schemes to enable communications between network participants, access to specific reports, expenses related to projects involving the development of new functions, operational fixed fees, fees related to chargeback restatements and royalties.

 

   

Losses from chargebacks consist of transactions credited back or refunded to the cardholder in the event a billing dispute between a cardholder and merchant is not resolved in favor of the merchant. Chargebacks may occur due to a variety of factors, such as a claim by the cardholder or cases of fraud. If we are unable to collect chargeback or refund from the merchant’s account, or if the merchant refuses to or is unable to reimburse us for a chargeback or refund due to closure, bankruptcy, or other circumstances, and, we bear the loss for the amounts paid to the cardholder.

 

   

Other expenses are allocated to our cost of services as well as our administrative and selling expenses. Other expenses included in our cost of services consist mainly of items such as travel expenses and costs of office supplies incurred in connection with the services that we sell.

Administrative expenses

Administrative expenses represent the amounts that we spend on back-office activities, quality control, indirect relations with our clients and overhead. These amounts consist of certain personnel expenses, depreciation and amortization and other expenses.

 

   

The portion of our personnel expenses that form part of our administrative expenses relate to our finance, legal, human resources, administrative, and other administrative personnel, as well as fees paid for professional services, including legal, tax and accounting services. The portion of our depreciation and amortization expenses that forms part of our administrative expenses relates to (i) the depreciation of the equipment, furniture, tools and technology used in our head office, back-office, and other operations, (ii) the amortization of acquired intangibles for customer relationships and brand, and (iii) the amortization of software developed internally to support our head office and back-office needs.

 

   

The portion of our other costs that form part of our administrative expenses includes items such as travel, lodging, insurance, facilities, rent, consultancy fees, reimbursement of staff expenses and office supplies.

 

   

We expect administrative expenses to increase as a result of becoming a publicly traded company and compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Public company costs include expenses associated with

 

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annual and quarterly reporting, investor relations, registrar and transfer agent fees, incremental insurance costs, and accounting and legal services.

Selling expenses

Selling expenses represent the amounts we spend on commercial teams, marketing, publicity and commissions for third-party commercial partners.

 

   

The portion of our personnel expenses that form part of selling expenses relates to our commercial team which has direct interactions with potential and existing clients. The main portion of this team are individuals who act in a direct sales model.

 

   

The portion of our commissions for third-party commercial sales partners that form part of our selling expenses relates to amounts paid for sales partners or franchisees that act directly with potential clients in some determined areas. These sales partners are generally paid in accordance with a profit-sharing model and are paid monthly.

 

   

The portion of marketing and advertising expenses included in our selling expenses relates to the production and distribution of our marketing and advertising campaigns on traditional offline media, traditional online advertising, the positioning of our products in internet search platforms and expenses incurred in relation to trade marketing at events.

Financial expenses, net

Our financial expenses, net include (i) discounts charged to us for the sale of our receivables from card issuers, (ii) interest expense on our other borrowings, (iii) the net amount of foreign currency gains and losses on cash balances denominated in foreign currencies, (iv) the cost of swaps relating to our foreign currency borrowings and (v) bank services fees.

To date, we have funded our working capital solutions primarily (i) by selling receivables owed to us by card issuers to certain banks, (ii) with capital raised by securitizing the receivables owed to us by card issuers through two significant FIDCs, namely FIDC AR1 and FIDC AR2, (iii) through our general third-party borrowings and (iv) with our own capital. In 2017, we set up two Brazilian special purpose investment funds, FIDC AR1 and FIDC AR2, to purchase and hold receivables, through which we have raised capital to finance our working capital solutions. These FIDCs are controlled by us, and raised capital by issuing senior quotas in the FIDCs to outside investors, who receive a return on these investments. For further information regarding these FIDCs, see note 19 to our audited consolidated financial statements and “—Liquidity and Capital Resources—Note on the impact of FIDC launch in our cash flows.”

All of our bank borrowings and senior quota holder obligations in FIDC AR1 and FIDC AR2 as of December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016 were denominated in Brazilian reais. However, the interest rate on certain of these borrowings is indexed to the UMBNDES Rate, which is based on a basket of currencies including the U.S. dollar, the euro and other currencies. For further information on our borrowings, see note 18 to our audited consolidated financial statements.

Other operating expenses, net

Other operating expenses, net consists mainly of share-based payments, contingencies, charges and miscellaneous income and/or expense items.

Liability-classified share-based compensation expense

Certain of our founding partners and senior executives received a one-time issuance of fully-vested Class C shares (as classified under our Articles of Association in effect prior to the consummation of the initial public

 

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offering) in us, as compensation for services rendered to us. These shares are subject to a lock-up period, and their terms provide us with the right to redeem such shares at any time at a redemption price to be determined by our board of directors. As our founding partners were deemed to have the power to cause Stone Co. to redeem shares beneficially owned by the founding partners, the fair value of the redemption price related to these Class C shares was recorded as a liability in our financial statements until January 2018. Prior to this date liability associated with these Class C shares was adjusted to fair value through each reporting date through profit or loss.

Certain employees have also been granted Co-Investment Shares in one of our subsidiaries. Incentive shares are subject to a lock-up period and a discounted buy-back feature retained by us if the employee leaves prior to lockup expiration. As a result, the plan has been liability classified and as such has been re-measured at each reporting date and expensed in our consolidated statements of profit or loss.

For further information about share-based payment expenses see note 26 to our audited consolidated financial statements and “Significant Factors Affecting our Results of Operations—Reclassification of Liability–Classified Share-Based Compensation Expense.”

Share-based awards in connection with our initial public offering and this offering

In September 2018, we granted new awards of restricted share units (RSUs) and stock options. In addition, we converted all outstanding Phantom Shares to RSU awards. These awards are equity settled, the majority of the awards are subject to performance conditions, and the related compensation expense will be recognized over the vesting period. We granted 5,396,454 awards (including pursuant to the Phantom Share conversion), and, after giving effect to the acceleration of certain awards in connection with our initial public offering to allow recipients to participate in our initial public offering, such awards have the following aggregate vesting schedule: approximately 6% vested at the initial public offering, approximately 9% will vest in four years, approximately 18% will vest in five years, approximately 21% will vest in seven years, and approximately 46% will vest in 10 years. The aggregate share-based compensation expense associated with such RSU and stock option awards will be approximately R$300 million and will be recognized over the vesting periods described above. We incurred R$24 mllion and R$36 million of share-based compensation expense associated with these awards vesting in the fiscal quarters ending September 30, 2018 and December 31, 2018, respectively. As the award was a one-time, nonrecurring event related to our initial public offering, all incurred future share-based compensation expense associated with these awards will be an adjustment in our calculation of adjusted net income.

In connection with this offering, we intend to accelerate the vesting of an aggregate of approximately 180,000 Class A common shares underlying RSU awards. This relates to the acceleration of certain awards to allow recipients to participate in this offering and/or to sell Class A common shares in the open market on or around the closing of this offering. We expect to incur approximately R$23 million of share-based compensation expense associated with these RSU vestings in the fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2019.

Gain (loss) on investment in associates

Gain (loss) on investment in associates consists mainly of results from operations from other entities that are not consolidated into our financial statements.

Income tax and social contributions

Current income tax and social contribution tax on net profits

The current corporate income tax (“CIT”) is calculated at a joint nominal rate of approximately 34%. CIT is composed of (i) income tax at the rate of 15% in addition to a surplus rate of 10% for taxable income exceeding R$20,000.00 per month; and (ii) the statutory rate, totaling 34% in Brazil, composed of 25% income tax and 9% social contribution tax on net income at a 9% rate applicable to non-financial institutions.

 

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Our tax assets for the current year are calculated based on the expected recoverable amount, and tax liabilities for the current year are calculated based on the amount payable to the applicable tax authorities. The tax rates and tax laws used to calculate this amount are those enacted or substantially enacted at the reporting date. We periodically evaluate our tax positions with respect to interpreting tax regulations and, when appropriate, establish provisions. Due to the nature of income tax and social contributions in Brazil described above, where income tax and social contributions are payable on a legal entity basis as opposed to on a consolidated basis, tax losses for one subsidiary entity cannot be used to offset income tax owed by other subsidiary entities.

Deferred income tax and social contributions tax on net profits

The accounting records of deferred tax assets on income tax losses and/or social contribution loss carryforwards, as well as those arising from temporary differences, are based on technical feasibility studies which consider the expected generation of future taxable income, taking into account the history of profitability for each subsidiary individually. In accordance with the Brazilian tax legislation, and as a general rule, loss carryforwards can be used to offset up to 30% of taxable profits for the year and do not expire.

Our deferred tax assets are generated by our net tax operating loss carryforwards. These are derived primarily from the acquisition of Elavon, as well as from carryforward losses accrued in connection with our operations.

Tax Incentives

Similar to other Brazilian companies across multiple industries, we benefit from certain tax and other government-granted incentives associated with technological innovation under Law 11,196/05 (“Lei do Bem”), which enable us to reduce the overall financial impact of CIT. For the effective tax rate reconciliation, see note 11 of our audited consolidated financial statements.

 

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Results of Operations

Year Ended December 31, 2018 Compared to the Year Ended December 31, 2017

The following table sets forth our statement of profit or loss and other comprehensive income data for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017. Share and per share data for the year ended December 31, 2017 in the table below has been retroactively adjusted to give effect to the 126-for-one share split of our common shares effective as of October 14, 2018.

 

     For the Year Ended December 31,  
     2018      2017      Variation
(R$)
     Variation
(%)
 
     R$ millions, except for amounts per share  

Statement of profit or loss data:

           

Net revenue from transaction activities and other services

     514.6        224.2        290.4        129.5

Net revenue from subscription services and equipment rental

     213.7        105.0        108.7        103.5

Financial income

     801.3        412.2        389.1        94.4

Other financial income

     49.6        25.3        24.3        96.1
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total revenue and income

     1,579.2        766.6        812.6        106.0

Cost of services

     (323.0      (224.1      (98.9      44.1

Administrative expenses

     (252.9      (174.6      (78.3      44.9

Selling expenses

     (190.2      (92.0      (98.2      106.7

Financial expenses, net

     (301.1      (237.1      (64.0      27.0

Other operating expenses, net

     (69.3      (134.2      64.9        (48.4 %) 

Loss on investment in associates

     (0.4      (0.3      (0.1      33.3
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Profit (loss) before income tax

     442.3        (95.7      538.0        n.m.  

Income tax and social contribution

     (137.1      (9.3      (127.8      1,374.2
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Profit (loss) for the year

     305.2        (105.0      410.2        n.m.  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Profit (loss) attributable to:

           

Owners of the parent

     301.2        (108.7      409.9        n.m.  

Non-controlling interests

     4.0        3.8        0.2        5.3

Basic profit (loss) per share for the year attributable to owners of the parent (R$)

     1.30        (0.49      1.79        n.m.  

Diluted profit (loss) per share for the year attributable to owners of the parent (R$)

     1.29        (0.49      1.78        n.m.  

TPV and Active Clients

The following table sets forth our TPV and active clients for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017:

 

     For the Year Ended December 31,  
     2018      2017      Variation      Variation (%)  

TPV (R$ billion)

     83.4        48.5        34.9        72.0

Active Clients (in thousands)

     267.9        131.2        136.7        104.2

As discussed in “—Significant Factors Affecting our Results of Operations,” TPV is one of the main drivers of revenue for our business. Growth for the year ended December 31, 2018, both in TPV and active clients, was primarily driven by our Stone Hubs, both through new Stone Hub openings and growing market share within existing Stone Hubs, which enabled us to onboard new SMB merchants and grow transaction volumes from existing and new clients. Due to our strategic focus on the SMB market segment, we grew our active client base

 

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faster than our TPV in the year ended December 31, 2018. As a result, our volume concentration has diminished over time. Our top ten clients represented 25.0% of TPV for the year ended December 31, 2018, representing a 3% decrease from 28.0% for the year ended December 31, 2017.

Total revenue and income

Total revenue and income was R$1,579.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, an increase of R$812.6 million or 106.0% from R$766.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2017. Total revenue and income growth was driven primarily by an increase in TPV and an increase in the number of SMBs as a proportion of our total client base.

 

     For the Year Ended December 31,  
     2018      2017      Variation
(R$)
     Variation
(%)
 
     R$ millions, except for percentages  

Net revenue from transaction activities and other services

     514.6        224.2        290.4        129.5

Net revenue from subscription services and equipment rental

     213.7        105.0        108.7        103.5

Financial income

     801.3        412.2        389.1        94.4

Other financial income

     49.6        25.3        24.3        96.1
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total revenue and income

     1,579.2        766.6        812.6        106.0
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Net revenue from transaction activities and other services. Net revenue from transaction activities and other services was R$514.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 an increase of R$290.4 million or 129.5% from R$224.2 million for the year ended year over year December 31, 2017. This increase was primarily attributable to (i) the R$34.9 billion growth in TPV, which translated to an increase of R$188.1 million in net revenue from transaction activities and other services, and (ii) an improvement in average rates, mainly driven by a shift in the mix of our client base, with a greater proportion of SMB merchants, accounting for an increase in net revenue from transaction activities and other services of R$102.3 million.

Net revenue from subscription services and equipment rental. Net revenue from subscription services and equipment rental was R$213.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, an increase of R$108.7 million or 103.5% from R$105.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2017. This increase was primarily attributable to the increase in the number of active SMB clients.

Financial income. Financial income for the year ended December 31, 2018 was R$801.3 million, an increase of R$389.1 million or 94.4% from R$412.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2017, primarily attributable to the 71.8% growth in TPV year over year. The R$34.9 billion growth of TPV year over year, which translates to an increase of R$315.5 million in financial income, and an increase in financial income as a percentage of TPV, from 0.85% in 2017 to 0.96% in 2018, which translated to an increase of R$73.6 million in financial income.

Other financial income. Other financial income was R$49.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, an increase of R$24.3 million from the year ended December 31, 2017, primarily attributable to an increase in our cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments primarily attributable our initial public offering proceeds.

Cost of services

Cost of services for the year ended December 31, 2018 was R$323.0 million, an increase of R$98.9 million, or 44.1%, from R$224.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2017. Cost of services as a percentage of total revenue and income was 20.5% for the year ended December 31, 2018, an efficiency gain of 8.7%, from 29.2% for the year ended December 31, 2017.

 

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This efficiency gain is primarily driven by (i) dilution of fixed costs of our proprietary processing platform and personnel expenses, which contributed 4.7% and (ii) an improvement of 2.6% due to efficiency gains in our logistics and customer relationship operations.

Administrative expenses

Administrative expenses for the year ended December 31, 2018 were R$252.9 million, an increase of R$78.3 million or 44.9% from R$174.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2017. Administrative expenses as a percentage of total revenue and income was 16.0% for the year ended December 31, 2018, an efficiency gain of 6.8%, from 22.8% for the year ended December 31, 2017.

The increase in administrative expenses is primarily attributed to growth in headcount, depreciation and amortization expenses and facilities costs to support our growth. This consists of: (i) R$39.4 million of increases in personnel expenses; (ii) R$14.4 million in depreciation and amortization expenses; and (iii) R$10.2 million in facilities costs primarily related to new office lease contracts in São Paulo and the lease of office spaces for the newly created Stone Hubs.

Selling expenses

Selling expenses were R$190.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, an increase of R$98.2 million or 106.7% from R$92.0 million the year ended December 31, 2017, primarily attributable to an increase of R$83.9 million in personnel expenses due to additional headcount in the sales team in connection with the our strategy to grow through the Stone Hubs.

Financial expenses, net

Financial expenses, net were R$301.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2018, an increase of R$64.0 million from R$237.1 million for year ended December 31, 2017. This increase was primarily attributable to an increase in funding expenses of R$59.5 million due to higher prepayment volumes.

Financial expenses, net as a percentage of financial income reduced from 57.5% for the year ended December 31, 2017 to 37.6% for the year ended December 31, 2018. This reduction was due to (i) an increase in financial income and especially by (ii) lower financial expenses due to the cost of funds due to the lower base rate, less expensive funding arrangements and use of a higher amount of our own cash to fund prepayment operations.

Other operating expenses, net

Other operating expenses, net was R$69.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 a decrease of R$64.9 million or 48.4% from R$134.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2017. This was primarily attributable to a R$78.1 million reduction in share-based compensation expenses.

In the fourth quarter 2018, share-based compensation expense is related to the one-time pre-IPO grants, which are booked over time, according to the different vesting periods of each grant. These awards are equity classified and the majority of the awards are subject to performance conditions. For further information of share-based payment see Note 26 on our audit consolidated financial statements.

Loss on investment in associates

Losses on investments in associates for the year ended December 31, 2018 was R$0.4 million, or change of R$0.1 million from $0.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2017.

 

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Profit (loss) before income taxes

Profit before income taxes was R$442.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 an increase of R$538.0 million from a loss of R$95.7 million before income taxes for the year ended December 31, 2017.

Income tax and social contribution

Our operations are in Brazil, where CIT is calculated at a joint nominal rate of approximately 34%. CIT is composed of (i) income tax at the rate of 15% in addition to a surplus rate of 10% for taxable income exceeding R$20,000.00 per month; and (ii) the statutory rate, totaling 34% in Brazil, composed of 25% income tax and 9% social contribution tax on net income at a 9% rate applicable to non-financial institutions.

Our total effective tax rate for the year ended December 31, 2018 was 31.0%, compared to 10.0% for the year ended December 31, 2017.

For further information about our income taxes, see note 11 to our audited consolidated financial statements.

Net income (loss) for the year

Net income was R$305.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 an increase of R$410.2 million from a net loss of R$105.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2017. This improvement is mainly related to the increase in total revenue and income in addition to operating leverage in cost of services, administrative expenses and financial expenses.

Adjusted net income

Adjusted net income was R$342.8 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 an increase of R$297.7 from R$45.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2017. The main factors that contributed to the growth in adjusted net income were: (i) increase in total revenue and income, primarily due to higher TPV and our focus on growing our base of SMB merchants; (ii) operating leverage in most lines, especially cost of services and administrative expenses; and (iii) reduced cost of funds, as we transition to less expensive funding arrangements and increase the use of own cash to fund our prepayment operations. See “Summary Financial and Other Information” for a reconciliation of adjusted net income (loss) to our profit (loss) for the period.

 

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Year Ended December 31, 2017 Compared to the Year Ended December 31, 2016

The following table sets forth our statement of profit or loss and other comprehensive income data for the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016. Share and per share data in the table below has been retroactively adjusted to give effect to the 126-for-one share split of our common shares effective as of October 14, 2018.

 

     For the Year Ended December 31,  
     2017      2016      Variation
(R$)
     Variation
(%)
 
     R$ millions, except for amounts per share  

Statement of profit or loss data:

           

Net revenue from transaction activities and other services

     224.2        121.1        103.1        85.1

Net revenue from subscription services and equipment rental

     105.0        54.7        50.3        91.9

Financial income

     412.2        247.4        164.8        66.6

Other financial income

     25.3        16.7        8.6        51.5
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total revenue and income

     766.6        439.9        326.7        74.3

Cost of services

     (224.1      (133.2      (90.9      68.3

Administrative expenses

     (174.6      (106.1      (68.5      64.6

Selling expenses

     (92.0      (49.5      (42.5      85.9

Financial expenses, net

     (237.1      (244.7      7.6        (3.1 %) 

Other operating expenses, net

     (134.2      (55.7      (78.5      140.9

(Loss) gain on investment in associates

     (0.3      0.1        (0.4      n.m.  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Loss before income tax

     (95.7      (149.2      53.5        (35.9 %) 

Income tax and social contribution

     (9.3      27.0        (36.3      n.m.  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Loss for the year

     (105.0      (122.2      17.2        (14.1 %) 
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Loss attributable to:

           

Owners of the parent

     (108.7      (119.8      11.1        (9.3 %) 

Non-controlling interests

     3.8        (2.4      6.2        n.m.  

Basic and diluted loss per share for the year attributable to owners of the parent (R$)

     (0.49      (0.61      0.12        (19.0 %) 

TPV and Active Clients

The following table sets forth our TPV and active clients for the years ended December 31, 2017 and 2016:

 

     For the Year Ended December 31,  
     2017      2016      Variation
(R$)
     Variation
(%)
 

TPV (R$ billion)

     48.5        28.1        20.4        72.6

Active Clients (in thousands)

     131.2        82.0        49.3        60.0

As discussed in “—Significant Factors Affecting our Results of Operations,” TPV is one of the main drivers of revenue for our business. The TPV for the year ended December 31, 2016 considers EdB volumes as of April 22, 2016, the date of acquisition.

Growth for the year ended December 31, 2017, both in TPV and active clients, was primarily driven by our Stone Hubs, both through new Stone Hub openings and growing market share within existing Stone Hubs, which enabled us to onboard new SMB merchants and grow transaction volumes from existing and new clients. Due to our strategic focus in the SMB market segment, we grew our active client base faster than our TPV, after adjusting for Elavon’s volumes for the full year of 2016. As a result, our volume concentration has diminished

 

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over time. Our top ten clients represented 28.0% of TPV for the year ended December 31, 2017, which represents a 6.5% decrease from 34.5% for the year ended December 31, 2016.

Total revenue and income

Total revenue and income for the year ended December 31, 2017 was R$766.6 million, an increase of R$326.7 million or 74.3% from R$439.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2016. This increase was driven largely by increases in TPV and an increase in the number of SMBs as a proportion of our client base. The increase in SMBs as a proportion of our overall client base improved our take rate by 0.02%, to 1.53% for the year ended December 31, 2017 from 1.51% for the year ended December 31, 2016.

 

     For the Year Ended December 31  
     2017      2016      Variation
(R$)
     Variation
(%)
 
     R$ millions, except for percentages  

Net revenue from transaction activities and other services

     224.2        121.1        103.1        85.1

Net revenue from subscription services and equipment rental

     105.0        54.7        50.3        91.9

Financial income

     412.2        247.4        164.8        66.6

Other financial income

     25.3        16.7        8.6        51.5
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total revenue and income

     766.6        439.9        326.7        74.3
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Net revenue from transaction activities and other services. Net revenue from transaction activities and other services for the year ended December 31, 2017 was R$224.2 million, an increase of R$103.1 million or 85.1% from R$121.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2016. This increase was primarily attributable to (i) the R$20.4 billion growth of TPV year over year which was translated to an increase of R$88.0 million in our net revenue from transaction activities and other services, and (ii) an improvement in the mix of our client base, with a greater proportion of SMB merchants, who pay higher rates per transaction, accounting for an increase in revenue from transaction activities and other services of R$15.1 million.

Net revenue from subscription services and equipment rental. Net revenue from subscription services and equipment rental for the year ended December 31, 2017 was R$105.0 million, an increase of R$50.3 million or 91.9% from R$54.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2016. This increase was primarily attributable to (i) an increase in the number of active clients that use our subscription services and rent our equipment, which contributed R$32.9 million, and (ii) an improvement in the mix of our client base, with a greater proportion of SMB merchants, who generally pay higher rental rates than our existing client base, accounting for an increase in revenue from subscription services and equipment rental of R$17.4 million.

Financial income. Financial income for the year ended December 31, 2017 was R$412.2 million, an increase of R$164.8 million or 66.6% from R$247.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2016, primarily attributable to the 72.7% growth in TPV year over year. The R$20.4 billion growth of TPV year over year, which translated to an increase of R$179.8 million in financial income, was offset by a R$15.0 million decrease resulting from the reduction in financial income as a percentage of TPV, from 0.88% in 2016 to 0.85% in 2017. Such reduction was driven by a smaller share of large key accounts in our TPV, which present a larger share of credit transactions and a higher share of installments. An overall increase in TPV generally increases financial income from our working capital solutions due to an overall increase in the volume of prepayments. Higher levels of installment transactions usually lead to higher demand for our working capital solutions. On the other hand, a smaller share of credit transactions leads to a decrease in the ratio of financial income from our working capital solutions, since debit card transactions are not eligible for prepayment.

Other financial income. Other financial income for the year ended December 31, 2017 was R$25.3 million, an increase of R$8.6 million or 51.5% from R$16.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2016, primarily attributable to an increase of R$8.0 million of interest income resulting from an increase in our cash balance.

 

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Cost of services

Cost of services for the year ended December 31, 2017 was R$224.1 million, an increase of R$90.9 million, or 68.3%, from R$133.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2016. Cost of services as a percentage of total revenue and income was 29.2% for the year ended December 31, 2017, an efficiency gain of 1.1%, from 30.3% for the year ended December 31, 2016. This change was primarily due to (i) an increase of R$44.0 million in transaction and client service cost, which represents a decrease of 2.3% of total revenue and income. Such decrease was driven by the dilution of fixed costs of our proprietary processing platform, migration of clients from Elavon Inc. platform and efficiency gains; (ii) an increase of R$34.7 million in personnel expenses, which represents an increase of 1.5% of total revenue and income, to support the expected growth of our operations; and (iii) an increase of R$12.2 million in depreciation and amortization costs, which represents a decrease of 0.2% of total revenue and income.

Administrative expenses

Administrative expenses for the year ended December 31, 2017 were R$174.6 million, an increase of R$68.5 million or 64.6% from R$106.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2016.

The increase in administrative expenses is primarily attributed to growth in headcount, third-party services and facilities costs to support our growth. This consists of: (i) R$29.7 million in increases on headcount; (ii) R$13.9 million in third-party operational consultants and advisors; and (iii) R$11.6 million in facilities costs primarily related to new office lease contracts in São Paulo and the lease of office spaces for the newly created Stone Hubs.

Selling expenses

Selling expenses for the year ended December 31, 2017 were R$92.0 million, an increase of R$42.5 million or 85.9% from R$49.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2016, primarily attributable to an increase of R$40.6 million due to additional headcount in our sales team in line with strategy to grow through our Hub strategy, and an increase of R$2.0 million due to higher spending on marketing and advertising in connection with events and marketing campaigns.

Financial expenses, net

Financial expenses, net for the year ended December 31, 2017 were R$237.1 million, a decrease of R$7.6 million from R$244.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2016. This reduction was primarily attributable to, among other things (i) a gain of R$44.2 million due to appreciation in the value of the U.S. dollar relative to the real on foreign-currency denominated investments, offset by (ii) an increase in cost of funding of R$35.4 million resulting from the net effect between higher prepayment volumes, a decrease in Brazilian interest rates and better funding cost efficiency.

Our financial expenses, net as a percentage of our financial income was 57.5% and 98.9% for the year ended December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016, respectively.

Other operating expenses, net

Other operating expenses, net for the year ended December 31, 2017 were R$134.2 million, an increase of R$78.5 million or 140.9% from R$55.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2016. This was primarily attributable to an increase of R$85.8 million of share-based payment expenses for the year ended December 31, 2017, which was driven by the adjustment to fair value of the Class C awards to our founding partners in 2017, along with new awards granted in the same period; and offset by R$7.4 million from other operating income due to asset sales and write-offs and other minor effects.

 

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Gain (loss) on investment in associates

Gain (loss) on investment in associates for the year ended December 31, 2017 was R$(0.3) million, a change of R$0.4 million from R$0.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2016.

Loss before income taxes

As a result of the foregoing, loss before income taxes for the year ended December 31, 2017 was R$95.7 million, a decrease of R$53.5 million from a loss of R$149.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2016.

Income tax and social contribution

Our operations are in Brazil, where the nominal income tax rate is 34%.

Although we reported a consolidated net loss in 2017, we incurred R$9.3 million in income tax expense of which R$5.7 million relates to current income tax expense of our subsidiaries that generated taxable income during the year and R$3.6 million related to the effect of deferred taxes during the year.

For the year ended December 31, 2016, we recorded an income tax gain of R$27.0 million. Such gain primarily relates to the recognition of previously unrecognized unused tax loss carryforwards and other deferred tax assets from prior periods for an amount of R$12.2 million, R$2.5 million in relation to the recognition of tax credit carryforwards, and R$12.5 million related to the effect of changes in deferred tax assets and liabilities during the year.

For further information about our income taxes, see note 11 to our audited consolidated financial statements.

Loss for the year

As a result of the foregoing, loss for the year ended December 31, 2017 was R$105.0 million, a decrease of R$17.2 million, or 14.1%, from a loss for the year ended December 31, 2016 of R$122.2 million.

Adjusted net income (loss)

Adjusted net income was R$45.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2017, an increase of R$97.1 million from an adjusted net loss of R$51.9 million for the year ended December 31, 2016.

The main factors that contributed to the growth in adjusted net income were: (i) increase of our total revenue and income, primarily due to higher TPV and our focus on growing our base of SMB merchants; (ii) improvement in financial efficiency, reflected by the reduction in financial expenses, net as percentage of our financial income from 98.9% in 2016 to 57.5% in 2017; and (iii) operational leverage, which resulted in a reduction in cost of services, administrative and selling expenses as percentage of total revenue and income from 65.7% in 2016 to 64.0% in 2017. See “Summary Financial and Other Information” for a reconciliation of adjusted net income (loss) to our profit (loss) for the period.

 

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Quarterly Financial Data (Unaudited) and Other Information

The following tables set forth certain of our financial information for the periods indicated.

 

    Three Months Ended  
    March 31,
2017
    June 30,
2017
    September 30,
2017
    December 31,
2017
    March 31,
2018
    June 30,
2018
    September 30,
2018
    December 31,
2018
 
    (unaudited) (R$ millions)  

Income Statement Data:

               

Net revenue from transaction activities and other services

    46.4       47.0       47.4       83.4       90.2       113.9       136.1       174.4  

Net revenue from subscription services and equipment rental

    24.5       24.8       26.5       29.2       38.5       46.5       59.2       69.5  

Financial income

    92.0       88.9       102.3       129.0       149.5       183.5       212.4       255.8  

Other financial income

    3.6       4.5       10.9       6.3       8.7       4.9       6.4       29.6  

Total revenue and income

    166.5       165.3       187.1       247.8       286.9       348.8       414.1       529.4  

Cost of services

    (46.5     (50.4     (53.7     (73.5     (70.8     (70.2     (80.7     (101.3

Administrative expenses

    (36.1     (33.0     (42.9     (62.6     (58.3     (59.1     (62.1     (73.4

Selling expenses

    (15.2     (18.6     (24.5     (33.7     (37.7     (43.7     (50.0     (58.7

Financial expenses, net

    (66.5     (52.3     (56.9     (61.4     (68.1     (74.5     (83.4     (75.1

Other operating expenses, net

    (74.9     (9.7     (19.3     (30.3     (5.1     (15.7     (6.9     (41.6

Gain (loss) on investment in associates

    —         (0.1     (0.1     (0.1     (0.1     (0.3     0.1       (0.1

Profit (loss) before income tax

    (72.7     1.1       (10.3     (13.8     46.8       85.3       130.9       179.3  

Income tax and social contribution

    (3.1     (1.3     (4.4     (0.5     (22.1     (22.3     (40.5     (52.2

Net income (loss)

    (75.8     (0.1     (14.8     (14.3     24.7       63.0       90.4       127.1  

Profit (loss) attributable to:

               

Owners of the parent

    (76.4     (3.1     (15.5     (13.7     23.6       61.4       88.8       127.4  

Non-controlling interests

    0.6       3.0       0.8       (0.6     1.1       1.6       1.6       (0.3

Basic gain (loss) attributable to owners of the parent

    (0.36     (0.01     (0.07     (0.06     0.11       0.28       0.40       0.49  

Diluted Gain (loss) attributable to owners of the parent

    (0.36     (0.01     (0.07     (0.06     0.11       0.28       0.40       0.48  

Adjusted net income (loss)

    6.2       12.4       5.7       20.9       26.5       71.1       89.3       155.9  

In the table below, we have provided a reconciliation of adjusted net income (loss) to our net income (loss) for the quarter, the most directly comparable financial measure calculated and presented in accordance with IFRS. For more information, see “Summary Financial and Other Information.”

 

    Three Months Ended  
    March 31,
2017
    June 30,
2017
    September 30,
2017
    December 31,
2017
    March 31,
2018
    June 30,
2018
    September 30,
2018
    December 31,
2018
 
    (unaudited) (R$ millions)  

Net income (loss) for the period

    (75.8     (0.1     (14.8     (14.3     24.7       63.0       90.4       127.1  

Share-based compensation expenses

    76.2       9.0       17.7       36.0       —         —         24.8       36.0  

Amortization of fair value adjustment on intangibles related to acquisitions

    5.8       3.5       2.7       2.8       2.7       2.8       2.8       4.3  

Fair Value adjustments of assets whose control was acquired

    —         —         —         —         —         —         (21.4     —    

One-time impairment charges

    —         —         —         —         —         8.4       —         —    

Pre tax subtotal

    6.2       12.4       5.7       24.5       27.4       74.2       96.7       167.4  

Tax effect on adjustments

    —         —         —         (3.6     (0.9     (3.1     (7.3     (11.5

Adjusted net income (loss)

    6.2       12.4       5.7       20.9       26.5       71.1       89.3       155.9  

 

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Liquidity and Capital Resources

The following discussion of our liquidity and capital resources is based on the financial information derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus.

Liquidity

Our sources of liquidity has primarily been derived from our: (i) sale of our receivables from card issuers to banks, (ii) funding from the issuance of senior quotas in FIDC AR1 and FIDC AR2, and (iii) capital contributions and cash flows from operations. Our primary capital needs relate to funding include: (i) funding our working capital solutions to clients; (ii) purchase of POS equipment; (iii) investment in product development; and (iv) selective acquisitions. We believe our current working capital is sufficient for our present requirements.

The following table is a summary of the generation and use of cash in the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016.

 

     For the Year Ended December 31,  
             2018                      2017              2016      
     R$ millions  

Liquidity and Capital Resources

        

Cash and cash equivalents

     297.9        642.0        170.6  

Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities

     (2,415.6      (1,284.0      (493.4

Net cash provided by (used in) investing activities

     (2,737.1      (299.7      189.9  

Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities

     4,794.9        2,053.4        378.0  

Foreign exchange in cash equivalents

     13.8        1.5        12.6  

Our cash and cash equivalents include cash on hand, deposits with banks and other short-term highly liquid investments with original maturities of three months or less, which have an immaterial risk of change in value. For more information, see note 6 to our audited consolidated financial statements.

Short-term investments included bonds and other short-term investments. Our short-term investments were R$2,770.6 million as of December 31, 2018, R$201.8 million as of December 31, 2017, and R$66.3 million as of December 31, 2016. For more information, see note 7 to our audited consolidated financial statements.

We regularly evaluate opportunities to enhance our financial flexibility through a variety of methods, including, without limitation, through the issuance of debt securities, entering of additional credit lines, and the sale of receivables. As a result of any of these actions, we may be subject to restrictions and covenants in the agreements governing these transactions that may place limitations on us, and we may be required to pledge collateral to secure such instruments.

Cash Flows

Our net cash provided by (used in) operating activities has consisted of profit (loss) for the period adjusted for certain non-cash items including depreciation and amortization, share-based payments expense, other financial costs and foreign exchange, net, deferred income tax expense, loss on disposal of assets, among other non-cash items, as well as changes in our operating assets and liabilities and the cash amounts of income taxes and social contributions that we pay and net interest income that we receive during the period.

Our net cash provided by (used in) investing activities has consisted of amounts paid on our purchase of property and equipment, purchases and development of intangible assets, acquisition (redemption) of financial instruments, cash received on disposal of non-current assets, acquisition of interest in associates and cash received in acquisitions.

 

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Our net cash provided by (used in) financing activities has consisted of proceeds from capital contributions, amounts we raised from senior quota holders of FIDC AR1 and FIDC AR2, the net amount of proceeds from borrowings and amortization of debt and finance leases, repurchases of our own shares and acquisitions of non-controlling interests in our subsidiaries. For further information on third-party funding, see “Indebtedness and FIDC Senior Quota Holder Obligations.”

Note on the impact of different funding sources in our operating and financing cash flows

A natural consequence of TPV growth is the corresponding increase in both accounts receivable from card issuers and accounts payable to clients. When we make a prepayment to our clients as part of our working capital solutions offering, we derecognize our accounts payable by the corresponding prepaid amount plus our fees earned by providing such prepayment service. In order to fund our prepayment operation, we principally use one of the following sources of funding: (i) the sale of our receivables from card issuers, to third party banks or financial institutions, (ii) the issuance of senior quotas by FIDCs to institutional investors or (iii) by deploying our own capital from capital contributions or cash flows from operations. These funding options lead to different impacts on our statement of cash flows and balance sheet:

 

  (i)

Sale of our receivables: the true sale of receivables results in the derecognition of our accounts receivable from card issuers. As a result, when a prepayment operation is funded through the true sale of receivables, both accounts receivable from card issuers and accounts payable to clients are derecognized from our balance sheet in the same amount and the combined effect to our cash flows is a positive operational cash flow equivalent to our net fees earned by providing such prepayment service.

 

  (ii)

Issuance of senior quotas by FIDCs: when we launch a new FIDC in order to raise capital, such as FIDC AR1 and FIDC AR2, the amount we raise from senior quota holders less structuring and transaction costs will be recognized on our balance sheet as cash and as a non-current liability to senior quota holders. We then transfer our receivables from card issuers from our operational subsidiary to the FIDC and use the cash to fund our prepayment operations. As a result of consolidating the FIDC in our financial statements, the accounts receivable from card issuers held by the FIDC remain on our consolidated balance sheet. These set of transactions will generate a positive impact on our cash flows from financing activities in the amount received by the FIDC from senior quota holders less structuring and transaction costs, however, as our accounts receivable from card issuers will remain on our balance sheet but our accounts payable to our clients will be derecognized, these transactions will also cause a negative impact on our cash flow from operations.

 

  (iii)

Deploying our own capital: when we use our own capital to fund our prepayment operations, we do not sell our receivables from card issuers and they remain on our balance sheet but our accounts payable to our clients will be derecognized, and therefore these transactions will cause a negative impact on our cash flow from operations.

Net cash used in operating activities

For the year ended December 31, 2018, net cash used in operating activities was R$2,415.6 million, primarily as a result of:

 

   

Net income of R$305.2 million combined with non-cash expenses consisting primarily of other financial costs and foreign exchange, net R$126.8 million, and depreciation and amortization of R$92.3 million. The total amount of adjustment to net income from non-cash items for the year ended December 31, 2018 was R$255.9 million.

 

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Net cash from changes in working capital, arising from changes in operating assets and liabilities, totaled an outflow of R$2,976.7 million, principally due to:

 

  (i)

an increase in the balance of accounts receivable from card issuers which led to negative cash flows of R$3,990.4 million, driven by the growth in TPV and the launch of FIDC AR1 and FIDC AR2 to fund our prepayment operations;

 

  (ii)

partially offset by an increase in the balance of accounts payable which led to positive cash flows of R$570.1 million, mainly driven by the growth of our TPV, which in turn was partially offset by the growth of prepayments made to clients under our working capital solutions offering.

 

   

In addition, amounts received from interest income of R$514.8 million, income tax and social contribution paid of R$87.4 million, and interest paid of R$141.4 million generated a net inflow of R$285.9 million.

For the year ended December 31, 2017, net cash used in operating activities was R$1,283.9 million, primarily as a result of:

 

   

Net loss of R$105.0 million, offset by non-cash expenses consisting primarily of share-based payments of R$138.9 million, other financial costs and foreign exchange, net, of R$71.9 million and depreciation and amortization of R$57.2 million. The total amount of adjustment to net loss from non-cash items in 2017 was R$277.0 million.

 

   

Net cash from changes in working capital, arising from changes in operating assets and liabilities, totaled an outflow of R$1,456.0 million, principally due to:

 

  (i)

an increase in the balance of accounts receivable from card issuers which led to negative cash flows of R$1,774.3 million, driven by the growth in TPV and the launch of FIDC AR1 and FIDC AR2 to fund our prepayment operations;

 

  (ii)

partially offset by an increase in the balance of accounts payable which led to positive cash flows of R$210.3 million, mainly driven by the growth of our TPV which in turn was partially offset by the growth of prepayments made to clients under our working capital solutions offering.

 

   

In addition, amounts received from interest income of R$147.4 million, income tax and social contribution paid of R$3.2 million, and interest paid of R$47.5 million generated a net inflow of R$96.7 million.

For the year ended December 31, 2016, net cash used in operating activities was R$493.4 million, primarily as a result of:

 

   

Net loss of R$122.2 million and other non-cash adjustments that contributed negatively to cash flow, such as decrease of deferred income tax equal to R$27.3 million and other financial costs and foreign exchange, net of R$26.8 million. Those were partially offset by non-cash expenses consisting primarily of share-based payments of R$53.1 million and depreciation and amortization of R$43.0 million. The total amount of adjustment from non-cash items in 2016 was R$42.3 million.

 

   

Net cash from changes in working capital, arising from changes in operating assets and liabilities, totaled an outflow of R$469.1 million, principally due to:

 

  (i)

an increase in the balance of accounts receivable from card issuers which led to negative cash flows of R$1,461.3 million, mainly driven by the growth in our TPV;

 

  (ii)

partially offset by an increase in the balance of accounts payable, which led to positive cash flows of R$982.5 million, mainly driven by the growth of our TPV.

 

   

In addition, amounts received from interest income of R$63.1 million, income tax and social contribution paid of R$0.1 million and interest paid of R$7.3 million generated a net inflow of R$55.7 million.

 

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Net cash provided by (used in) investing activities

Net cash used in investing activities for the year ended December 31, 2018 was R$2,737.1 million, compared to R$299.7 million of net cash used in investing activities for the year ended December 31, 2017. Net cash used in investing activities for the year ended December 31, 2018 was mainly driven by net acquisitions of short-term financial investments of R$2,557.3 million, compared to net acquisition of short-term financial instruments of R$145.5 million for the year ended December 31, 2017. In addition, for the year ended December 31, 2018 we purchased property and equipment, including POS equipment and hardware for use in our data centers, amounting to R$140.9 million, compared to R$141.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2017.

Net cash used in investing activities for the year ended December 31, 2017 was R$299.7 million, compared to R$189.9 million of net cash provided by investing activities for the year ended December 31, 2016. Net cash used in investing activities for the year ended December 31, 2017 was mainly driven by the purchases of property and equipment, including POS equipment and hardware for use in our data centers, amounting to R$141.0 million, compared to R$31.6 million in 2016. In addition, in 2017 we had net acquisitions of short-term financial investments of R$145.5 million using funds raised from capital contributions, compared to net redemption of short-term financial instruments of R$216.7 million in 2016.

Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities

Net cash provided by financing activities in the year ended December 31, 2018 was R$4,794.9 million, compared to net cash provided by financing activities of R$2,053.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2017. The increase was mainly driven by a capital increase, net of transaction costs of R$4,229.2 million mainly related to the initial public offering proceeds in 2018 compared to R$2,053.3 million from senior quota holders of FIDC AR1 and FIDC AR2 in 2017.

Net cash provided by financing activities in the year ended December 31, 2017 was R$2,053.4 million, compared to R$378.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2016, which represents an increase of R$1,675.9 million. The increase was mainly driven by (i) a contribution of R$2,053.3 million from senior quota holders of FIDC AR1 and FIDC AR2 in 2017 and (ii) an increase in capital funding of R$529.0 million, offset by a repurchase of shares from certain of our shareholders of R$280.8 million and an increase in the amount of our acquisition of non-controlling interests of R$223.4 million in 2017.

 

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Indebtedness and FIDC Senior Quota Holder Obligations

As of December 31, 2018, we had outstanding debt and FIDC senior quota holder obligations in the aggregate amount of R$2,837.0 million. The following table contains a summary of our third-party debt and quota holder obligations as of December 31, 2018 and December 31, 2017:

 

   

Average annual interest

rate %

       Maturity          At
December 31,
2018

Amount
(R$ million)
     At
December 31,
2017

Amount
(R$ million)
 

Obligations to FIDC AR senior quota holders

  106.8% of CDI Rate(1)     
Jun/20,
Dec/20
 
 
     6.4        8.7  

Obligations to FIDC TAPSO senior quota holders

  118.0% of CDI Rate(1)      Sep/19        10.2        0.0  

Leasing

  CDI Rate(1) + 2.1% per year      Feb/19        0.8        10.5  

Leasing

  7.1% per year      Jul/20        1.5        0.0  

Finame(3)

  UMBNDES(2) + 4.0% per year      Jul/19        0.8        3.4  

Loans with private entities

  103.0% of CDI Rate(1)      Oct/19        758.0        0.0  
       

 

 

    

 

 

 

Current portion of debt

          777.7        22.5  

Obligations to FIDC AR senior quota holders

  106.8% of CDI Rate(1)     
Jun/20,
Dec/20
 
 
     2,057.9        2,056.3  

Leasing

  CDI Rate(1) + 2.1% per year      Feb/19        0.0        2.0  

Leasing

  7.1% per year      Jul/20        1.4        0.0  

Finame(3)

  UMBNDES(2) + 4.0% per year      Jul/19        0.0        1.0  
       

 

 

    

 

 

 

Non-current portion of debt

          2,059.3        2,059.4  
       

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total Debt

          2,837.0        2,081.9  
       

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

(1)

“CDI Rate” means the Brazilian interbank deposit (Certificado de Depósito Interbancário) rate, which is an average of interbank overnight rates in Brazil.

(2)

“UMBNDES rate” means a floating exchange rate based on a monetary unit of the BNDES, which is based on a basket of currencies including the US dollar, the euro and other currencies.

(3)

Lending program through the BNDES. Finame is a lending program through the BNDES, with such loans being collateralized by the equipment being financed.

In 2015, EdB entered into financial lease agreements with two commercial banks in order to finance the acquisition of POS and other equipment to be leased to our clients, as well as other fixed assets. Pursuant to the terms of these agreements, we pay a fixed monthly payment which is adjusted at a rate of the CDI Rate plus 2.1% per year. As of December 31, 2018, the outstanding obligations under these agreements totaled R$0.8 million, with the final payment due in February 2019. In 2015, EdB entered into a credit line with the BNDES (Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Econômico e Social) in order to finance the acquisition of POS and other equipment. The credit line bears interest at a rate of the UMBNDES Rate plus 3.93% per six months. As of December 31, 2018, the outstanding balance under this credit line totaled R$0.8 million, and matures in July 2019. We assumed the obligations under these agreements in connection with the EdB Acquisition.

As of December 31, 2018, we had approximately R$149.8 million of unused borrowing capacity under revolving credit lines we have entered into with commercial banks.

In June 2017 and November 2017, in order to raise capital to fund prepayment services to merchants, we launched two special purpose investment funds known as Fundos de Investimento em Direitos Creditórios, or FIDCs, which we refer to as FIDC AR1 and FIDC AR2. A FIDC is an investment fund authorized by the Brazilian Monetary Council, and specifically designed as an investment vehicle for investing in Brazilian credit

 

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rights, such as credit card receivable rights. Based on the contractual terms governing FIDC AR1 and FIDC AR2, we control these investment funds and therefore they are consolidated in our consolidated financial statements.

FIDC AR1 and FIDC AR2 raised a total of R$2,053.3 million, net of transaction costs, by issuing three-year senior quotas to a pool of institutional investors. Both FIDCs’ senior quotas have a benchmark return rate of 106.8% of the CDI Rate per year and receive interest payments every six months. At the end of the third annual period, the senior quotas must be fully redeemed by the applicable FIDC. Accordingly, FIDC AR1 matures in June 2020 and FIDC AR2 matures in December 2020. These FIDCs, in turn, use the capital raised to acquire our receivables against card issuers arising from credit card transactions and therefore finance our prepayment of receivables working capital solution. We hold 100% of the subordinated quotas in these FIDCs. Residual returns from these FIDCs, if any, are paid to subordinated quota holders.

On October 1, 2018, we entered into an agreement with SRC Companhia Securitizadora de Créditos Financeiros (“SRC”). The transaction is a revolving loan in an amount of R$746.9 million, at a discount rate equivalent to 103.0% of the CDI Rate, and has a maturity of 12 months. Accounts receivables from card issuers are used as collateral, in the equivalent amount of 106% of loan balance.

For further information on our financing activities, see note 18 to our audited consolidated financial statements.

Capital Expenditures

Capital expenditures comprise purchases of intangible assets and property and equipment.

In the year ended December 31, 2018, we made capital expenditures of R$185.7 million. Of these, R$140.9 million was spent on the purchase of property and equipment, comprised primarily of expenditures related to the purchase of equipment, mainly POS and other equipment to lease to our client base. In addition, R$44.8 million was spent in relation to the purchase and development of intangible assets, primarily related to software licenses and compensation expenses of software developers that we capitalize.

In the year ended December 31, 2017, we made capital expenditures of R$162.3 million. Of these, R$141.0 million was spent on the purchase of property and equipment, comprised primarily of: (i) R$75.4 million of expenditures related to the purchase of equipment, mainly POS and other equipment to lease to our client base; and (ii) R$43.7 million to the purchase of datacenter and other IT equipment in order to achieve additional capacity to sustain the growth in our transaction volumes. In addition, R$21.3 million was spent in relation to the purchase and development of intangible assets, primarily related to software licenses and compensation expenses of software developers that we capitalize.

In the year ended December 31, 2016, we made capital expenditures of R$43.1 million. Of these, R$31.6 million was on purchase of property and equipment, which mainly include: (i) R$13.0 million expenditures related to purchase of equipment, mainly POS and other equipment to lease to our client base; and (ii) R$5.3 million in purchase of IT equipment. In addition, R$11.5 million was spent in relation to purchase and development of intangible assets, primarily related to software licenses and compensation expenses of software developers which we capitalize.

We estimate that our capital expenditures for 2019 will be primarily for purchases of property and equipment (mainly relating to purchases of POS and other equipment to lease to our client base and IT equipment) and intangible assets (mainly relating to software licenses and compensation expenses of software developers that we capitalize). We expect to increase our capital expenditures to support the growth in our business and operations. We expect to meet our capital expenditure needs for the foreseeable future from our cash flows from operations and our existing cash and cash equivalents.

 

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Commitments and Contractual Obligations

Our contractual obligations at December 31, 2018 were as follows:

 

     Payments Due By Period  
     Total      Less than
1 year
     1-3 years      3-5 years      More than
5 years
 
     (in millions of reais)  

Debt and FIDC senior quota holder obligations

     2,837.0        777.7        2,059.3        —          —    

Operating leases(1)

     44.4        18.9        25.5        —          —    
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total

     2,881.4        796.6        2,084.8        —          —    
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

(1)

Consists of office leases and lease and insurance costs for motorcycles used by our Green Angels.

Our contractual obligations at December 31, 2017 were as follows:

 

     Payments Due By Period  
     Total      Less than
1 year
     1-3 years      3-5 years      More than
5 years
 
     (in millions of reais)  

Debt and FIDC senior quota holder obligations

     2081.9        22.5        2,059.4        —          —    

Operating leases(1)

     48.8        14.3        34.5        —          —    
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total

     2,130.7        36.8        2,093.9        —          —    
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

(1)

Consists of office leases and lease and insurance costs for motorcycles used by our Green Angels.

Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

As of December 31, 2018, we did not have any off-balance sheet arrangements.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

General

Our overall market risk management program focuses on the unpredictability of financial markets and seeks to minimize potential adverse effects on our financial performance.

Foreign Exchange Risk

Foreign exchange risk arises when commercial transactions or recognized assets or liabilities are denominated in a currency that is not our functional currency.

Virtually all of our revenues and our expenses are denominated in, or linked to, the Brazilian Real. Accordingly, we do not face any significant revenue or operating expense exposure to fluctuations between the real and other currencies.

As of December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, we had cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments denominated in U.S. dollars and Euro in the amount of R$254.9 million, R$232.5 million and R$202.9 million, respectively.

 

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Interest Rate Risk

Interest rate risk is the risk that the fair value of future cash flows of a financial instrument fluctuates due to changes in market interest rates. Our exposure to the risk of changes in market interest rates arises primarily from short-term investments and long-term borrowings subject in each case to variable interest rates, principally the LIBOR rate for our short-term investments and the CDI Rate for our long-term borrowings.

We conducted a sensitivity analysis of the interest rate risks to which our financial instruments are exposed as of December 31, 2018. For this analysis, we adopted as a probable scenario for the future interest rates of 6.55% for the CDI Rate. When estimating an increase or decrease in current interest rates for the period of one year by 25% and 50%, other financial income (in connection with short-term investments) and financial expense, net (in connection with long-term borrowings) would be impacted as follows:

 

          Scenarios  

Transactions

   Interest Rate
Risk
   Current
Exposure
     Decrease
by 50%
    Decrease
by 25%
    Increase
by 25%
    Increase
by 50%
 
          (in millions of R$)  

Short-term investments

   CDI variation      2,434.1        (75.6     (37.8     37.7       75.4  

Loans and financing - Leasing and Private entities

   CDI variation      758.8        26.4       14.0       (10.9     (23.3

Obligations to FIDC senior quota holders

   CDI variation      2,074.5        72.8       36.4       (36.5     (73.0

Critical Accounting Policies and Estimates

Our consolidated financial statements are prepared in conformity with IFRS. In preparing our audited consolidated financial statements, we make assumptions, judgments and estimates that can have a significant impact on amounts reported in our consolidated financial statements. We base our assumptions, judgments and estimates on historical experience and various other factors that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances. Actual results could differ materially from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions. We regularly reevaluate our assumptions, judgments and estimates. Our significant accounting policies are described in note 3 to our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus. We believe that the following critical accounting policies are more affected by the significant judgments and estimates used in the preparation of our consolidated financial statements:

Consolidation of structured entities

We consider each of the FIDC AR1 and FIDC AR2 to be structured entities as defined by IFRS 10. We hold all subordinated quotas issued by these FIDCs, representing approximately 10% of the total outstanding quotas, while third-parties hold all senior quotas, representing approximately 90% of the total outstanding quotas.

The bylaws of these FIDCs were established by us at their inception, and grant us significant decision-making authority over these entities, such as the right to determine which credits rights are eligible to be acquired by these FIDCs. In addition, senior quota holders receive a fixed remuneration payment every six months and the senior quotas must be fully redeemed by us at the end of the third annual period. As sole holders of the subordinated quotas, we are entitled to the full residual value of the entities, if any, and thus we have the rights to their variable returns, if any.

In accordance with IFRS 10, we concluded we control each of FIDC AR1 and FIDC AR2 and, therefore, they are consolidated in our financial statements. The senior quotas are accounted for as a financial liability under “Obligations to FIDC senior quota holders” and the fixed remuneration paid to senior quota holders is recorded as interest expense.

 

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Revenue recognition

Revenue is recognized when we have evidence of an arrangement, as services are rendered or transactions are cleared, consideration is reliably measurable and collectability is probable. When equipment or services are bundled in an agreement with a client, the components are separated using objective evidence of the fair value of the components, which is based on our customary pricing for each element in separate transactions. If evidence of fair value exists for all undelivered elements and there is no such evidence of fair value established for delivered elements, revenue is first allocated to the elements where fair value has been established and the residual amount is allocated to the delivered elements. If evidence of fair value for any undelivered element of the arrangement does not exist, all revenue from the arrangement is deferred until such time that there is evidence of delivery for that undelivered element.

We recognize revenue from transaction activities net of interchange fees retained by card issuers and assessment fees charged by payment schemes since we consider we are an agent in the authorization, processing and settlement of payment transactions as we do not bear the significant risks and rewards of those services, given that: (i) we are not the primary entity responsible for the authorization, processing and settlement services performed by the payment scheme networks and card issuers; (ii) we have no latitude to establish the assessment and interchange fees; (iii) we do not collect the interchange fee and the assessment fee is collected on behalf of the clients; and (iv) we do not bear the credit risk of the cardholder.

Intangible assets

Certain direct development costs associated with internally developed software and software enhancements of our technology platform are capitalized. Capitalized costs, which occur post determination by management of technical feasibility, include external services and internal payroll costs. These costs are recorded as intangible assets when development is complete and the asset is ready for use, and are amortized straight-line, generally over a period of three to five years. Research and pre-feasibility development costs, as well as maintenance and training costs, are expensed as incurred. In certain circumstances, management may determine that previously developed software and its related expense no longer meets management’s definition of feasible, which could then result in the impairment of such asset.

Intangible assets with finite useful lives are amortized over their estimated useful lives and tested for impairment whenever there is an indication that their carrying amount may be not be recovered. The period and method of amortization for intangible assets with finite lives are reviewed at least at the end of each fiscal year or when there are indicators of impairment. Changes in estimated useful lives or expected consumption of future economic benefits embodied in the assets are considered to modify the amortization period or method, as appropriate, and treated as changes in accounting estimates. The amortization of intangible assets with definite lives is recognized in profit or loss in the expense category consistent with the use of intangible assets.

As of December 31, 2018, December 31, 2017 and 2016, we do not hold indefinite life intangibles assets, except for goodwill.

We test whether goodwill suffered any impairment on an annual basis at December 31 and, when circumstances indicate that the value may be impaired, at our single Cash Generating Unit, or CGU. The recoverable amount of our CGU is determined based on a value in use calculation using cash flow projections from financial budgets approved by senior management covering a five-year period, based on past performance and management’s expectations of market development and on current industry trends and including long-term inflation forecasts for each territory.

We performed our annual impairment test as of December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, which did not result in the need to recognize impairment losses on the carrying value of goodwill.

 

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Share-based payments

We have equity-settled and cash-settled share-based payment plans, under which management grants shares or optional cash amounts based on the price or value of shares to employees and non-employees in exchange for services.

The cost of equity-settled transactions with employees is measured using their fair value at the date they are granted. The cost of equity-settled transactions and a corresponding increase in equity is recognized on the date of grant.

We account for cash-settled share-based payment transactions with employees and non-employees within liabilities and initially measure the cost of the services received based on the fair value of the liability. This liability is re-measured at the end of each reporting period up to the date of settlement, such that the liability ultimately is measured at the fair value of the liability on the date of settlement. This requires a reassessment of the estimates used to value these shares at the end of each reporting period.

Estimating fair value for share-based payment transactions requires determination of the most appropriate valuation model and underlying assumptions, which depends on the terms and conditions of the grant and the information available at the grant date. We use certain methodologies to estimate fair value, which include equity transactions with third parties close to the grant date and other valuation techniques, including option pricing models such as Black-Scholes.

On December 5, 2017, our wholly-owned subsidiary, DLP Par, issued 47,996 Co-Investment Shares under a share based compensation plan. In connection with our initial public offering, holders of Co-Investment Shares exchanged these shares for 939,708 Class A common shares. The share-based compensation expense associated with these awards was measured using a fair value based on the purchase price of shares issued in an investment round completed on December 8, 2017. Multiple third-party investors participated in the investment round on arm’s length terms, which resulted in 2,676,492 ordinary non-voting shares being issued for US$24.2 million, at a price per share of US$9.06. Such investors’ valuation of Stone was based on discussions with management and their own due diligence and internal analysis.

Management believes the difference between the fair value of the December 2017 award of Co-Investment Shares and the price per share of the initial public offering is the result of (i) the high level of growth achieved by Stone, as demonstrated by its principal operational and financial metrics, and (ii) a customary liquidity discount for privately issued securities without an established trading market.

Management believes that the Co-Investment Shares issued in December 2017 and the ordinary non-voting shares issued in the December 2017 private placement were substantially identical in terms. Neither instrument entitled its holder to vote in an ordinary meeting of shareholders of the Company. Due to StoneCo Ltd. being a holding company without any material operations, assets or liabilities of its own, and the exchange ratio to be applied to the Co-Investment Shares, the economic interest in the consolidated corporate group that each Co-Investment Share represented is the same as the economic interest of the consolidated corporate group represented by the number of Class A common shares that will be issued upon exchange. Furthermore, each ordinary non-voting share was reclassified into Class A common shares on a one-for-one basis in connection with our initial public offering. Accordingly, the economic interest in the consolidated corporate group that each Co-Investment Share represented is the same as the economic interest of the consolidated corporate group represented by the number of ordinary non-voting shares that was reclassified into Class A common shares in connection with the initial public offering.

In addition, Management believes that the Co-Investment Shares and the Class A common shares that they were exchanged into are substantially identical in terms and, as a consequence, their estimated fair value should be the same at the date at which the exchange occurs. As stated above, the economic interest in the consolidated

 

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corporate group that each Co-Investment Share represented is the same as the economic interest of the consolidated corporate group represented by the number of Class A common shares that were issued upon exchange. In addition, the 10-year lock-up period that was applicable to the Co-Investment Shares applies equally to the Class A common shares issued upon exchange that are held by holders of the previous Co-Investment Shares after the initial public offering. Therefore, the Company did not recognize incremental share-based compensation expense in connection with the exchange.

Deferred income tax and social contribution

Deferred income tax and social contribution is recognized, using the liability method, on temporary differences between the tax bases of assets and liabilities and their carrying amounts in the financial statements. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are presented net in the statement of financial position when there is a legally enforceable right and the intention to offset them upon the calculation of current taxes.

Deferred tax assets are recognized only to the extent it is probable that future taxable profit will be available against which the temporary differences and/or tax losses can be utilized. Significant judgment from management is required to determine the amount of deferred tax assets that can be recognized, based on the likely timing and level of future taxable profits, together with future tax planning strategies.

Application of New Accounting Standards and New Accounting Policies

On January 1, 2018 we applied the following accounting standards. For further information on the impact of these IFRS standards and interpretations on the presentation of our financial position or performance once they become effective, see note 3.19(i) to our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus.

IFRS 15—Revenue from Contracts with Customers

IFRS 15, issued in May 2014, establishes a five-step model to account for revenues from contracts with customers. Under IFRS 15, revenue is recognized at an amount that reflects the consideration to which an entity expects to be entitled in exchange for transferring goods or services to a customer. IFRS 15 supersedes IAS 11 Construction Contracts, IAS 18 Revenues and related interpretations and it applies to all revenue arising from contracts with customers, unless those contracts are in the scope of other standards.

We adopted IFRS 15 on its effective date of January 1, 2018, using a modified retrospective approach with no impact on our audited financial statements.

IFRS 9—Financial Instruments

In July 2014, IASB issued the final version of IFRS 9—Financial Instruments, which supersedes IAS 39—Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement. IFRS 9 brings together all three aspects of the accounting for financial instrument project: classification and measurement, impairment and hedge accounting. IFRS 9 is effective for annual periods beginning on or after January 1, 2018.

We adopted the new standard as of January 1, 2018.

(a)    Classification and measurement

Accounts receivable from card issuers previously measured at amortized cost were reclassified to be measured at fair value through other comprehensive income, or OCI.

Trade accounts receivable are held to collect contractual cash flows and give rise to cash flows that represent exclusively principal and interest payments. As such, loans continue to be measured at amortized cost.

 

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Accounts receivable from card issuers that are held to collect contractual cash flows and then sell the receivable are now measured at fair value through other comprehensive income, or FVOCI, under IFRS 9. For accounts receivable from card issuers measured at FVOCI, all changes in the fair value are now taken through OCI, except for the recognition of impairment gains or losses, interest income, gains and losses arising on de-recognition, and foreign exchange gains and losses, which are recognized in profit or loss.

On January 1, 2018, the effect of applying the classification and measurement provisions of IFRS 9 resulted in a reduction of R$71.0 million in accounts receivable from card issuers and a corresponding adjustment, net of taxes, of R$46.8 million to equity recognized in other comprehensive income.

(b)    Impairment

IFRS 9 requires the recording of expected credit losses on debt securities, loans and trade accounts receivable, for 12 months or on a lifetime basis. We implemented a three-stage model to record the expected losses on our accounts receivable. We have undertaken an analysis of the impact of adopting the expected loss model. Based on the past history of defaults as well as on expected nature and level of risk associated with loans and receivables, the effect of adoption of the expected loss model on January 1, 2018 resulted in an increase in the provision for losses of R$0.8 million, and a corresponding deferred tax asset of R$0.3 million, with a corresponding entry to equity of R$0.5 million.

New Accounting Standards under IFRS

Certain IFRS standards and interpretations that have been issued but that are not in effect until January 1, 2019 could impact the presentation of our financial position or performance once they become effective. For further information on the impact of these IFRS standards and interpretations on the presentation of our financial position or performance once they become effective, see note 3.19(ii) to our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus.

IFRS 16—Leases

IFRS 16 was issued in January 2016 and supersedes IAS 17—Leases. IFRS 16 establishes the principles for the recognition, measurement, presentation and disclosure of leases and requires lessees to account for all leases under a single model in the statement of financial position, similar to the recognition of finance leases under IAS 17. On the commencement date of the lease agreement, the lessee will recognize a lease payment liability (i.e. a lease liability) and an asset that represents the right to use the underlying asset during the lease term (i.e. the right to use asset). IFRS 16 is effective for annual periods beginning on or after January 1, 2019.

We will apply the standard from its mandatory adoption date of January 1, 2019. We intend to apply the simplified transition approach and will not restate comparative amounts for the year prior to first adoption. Right-of-use assets will be measured at the amount of the lease liability on adoption (adjusted for any prepaid or accrued lease expenses). We will elect to use the exemptions proposed by the standard on lease contracts for which the lease terms ends within 12 months as of the date of initial application, and lease contracts for which the underlying asset is of below US$ 5,000.

We expect to recognize lease liabilities of approximately R$ 40,000 on January 1, 2019 and right-of-use assets in the same amount.

IFRIC 23—Uncertainty over Income tax treatments

On June 7, 2017, the IFRS Interpretations Committee (“IFRS IC”) issued IFRIC 23, which clarifies how the recognition and measurement requirements of IAS 12 ‘Income taxes’, are applied where there is uncertainty over income tax treatments.

 

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The IFRS IC had clarified previously that IAS 12, not IAS 37 ‘Provisions, contingent liabilities and contingent assets’, applies to accounting for uncertain income tax treatments. IFRIC 23 explains how to recognize and measure deferred and current income tax assets and liabilities where there is uncertainty over a tax treatment.

We will adopt IFRIC 23 on its effective date, January 1, 2019, using the simplified retrospective approach, and do not expect to have any impact on our consolidated financial statements.

Material Weakness in Internal Controls and Remediation

In connection with the audit of our consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2017 and 2016, we and our independent registered public accounting firm identified a number of material weaknesses in our internal controls over financial reporting as of December 31, 2017 and 2016. Specifically, the following controls were not fully effective: (i) inaccuracies in our treatment of the measurement of and recognition of deferred income and social contribution taxes due to a lack of experienced personnel; (ii) inadequate controls around the monthly closing process which resulted in the need to make adjustments to historical financial statements; (iii) inaccuracies in our treatment of stock-based compensation due to a lack of experienced personnel; (iv) errors in our application of acquisition accounting policies to our acquisition of Elavon due to a lack of experienced personnel; (v) inaccuracies in our treatment of related party transactions due to the lack of a process for their identification and disclosure; and (vi) lack of procedures and controls for (a) the change management process, (b) granting access to our accounting systems, (c) revoking access for terminated personnel; and (d) managing access for transferred and promoted employees, (e) periodically reviewing the profiles of those with access, (f) segregating access between development and production environments; and (g) monitoring, logging and tracking access to our systems.

We have adopted a remediation plan with respect to the material weaknesses identified above and, by hiring several new, experienced personnel in our financial reporting organization, adopting revised processes and procedures and, modifying our internal controls to provide additional levels of review, implementation of new software solutions, training for staff and enhanced documentation we believe that we have remediated each of the material weaknesses as of December 31, 2018. These measures include implementation of new processes and procedures, modifying our internal controls to provide additional levels of review, implementation of new software solutions, training for staff and enhanced documentation. There can be no assurance that our remediation efforts will continue to be successful. See “Risk Factors—In the past, we and our independent registered public accounting firm identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting and, if we fail to maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting, we may be unable to accurately report our results of operations, meet our reporting obligations or prevent fraud.”

 

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BUSINESS

Our Company

We are a leading provider of financial technology solutions that empower merchants and integrated partners to conduct electronic commerce seamlessly across in-store, online, and mobile channels in Brazil. We have developed a strong client-centric culture that seeks to delight our clients rather than simply providing them with a solution or service. To achieve this, we created a proprietary, go-to-market approach called the Stone Business Model, which enables us to control the client experience and ensures that interactions are provided by our people or our technology. The Stone Business Model combines our advanced, end-to-end, cloud-based technology platform; differentiated hyper-local and integrated distribution approach; and white-glove, on-demand customer service, each of which is described below.

 

  1)

Advanced, End-to-End, Cloud-Based Technology Platform—We designed our cloud-based technology platform to (i) help our clients connect, get paid and grow their businesses, while meeting the complex and rapidly changing demands of omni-channel commerce; and (ii) overcome long-standing inefficiencies within the Brazilian payments market. Our platform enables us to develop, host and deploy our solutions very quickly. We also sell our solutions to integrated partners such as Payment Service Providers, or PSPs, which are firms that contract with a merchant to provide them with payment acceptance solutions, and marketplaces to empower merchants to conduct commerce more effectively in Brazil.

 

  2)

Differentiated Hyper-Local and Integrated Distribution—We developed our distribution solution to proactively reach and serve our clients in a more effective manner. In particular, we developed Stone Hubs, which are local operations close to our clients that include an integrated team of sales, service, and operations support staff to reach small-and medium-sized businesses or SMBs, locally and efficiently, and to build stronger relationships with them. We also have a specialized in-house sales team that serves online merchants and digital service providers with dedicated expertise. We also work with integrated partners, such as ISVs, to embed our solutions into their offerings and enable their merchants to accept payments seamlessly and easily.

 

  3)

White-Glove, On-Demand Customer Service—We created our on-demand customer service team to support our clients quickly, conveniently, and with high-quality service designed to strengthen our customer relationships and improve their lifetime value to us. Our customer service approach combines (i) a Human Connection, through which we seek to address our clients’ service needs in a single phone call using a qualified team of technically trained agents; (ii) Proximity, through our Green Angels team of local support personnel who can serve our clients in person within minutes or hours, instead of days or weeks; and (iii) Technology, through a range of self-service tools and proprietary artificial intelligence, or AI, that help our clients manage their operations more conveniently and enable our agents to proactively address merchant needs, sometimes before they are even aware of an issue.

The Stone Business Model is disruptive and has enabled us to gain significant traction in only four years since the launch of our service. In 2018, we were the largest independent merchant acquirer in Brazil and the fourth largest based on total volume in Brazil according to data from public sources. In 2017, we became the first non-bank entity to obtain authorization from the Central Bank of Brazil to operate as a Merchant Acquirer Payments Institution. In the same year, we grew our total net revenue and income to R$766.6 million, an increase of 74.3% from 2016, and in 2018, we increased our total net revenue and income to R$1,579.2 million, an increase of 106.0% from 2017. We have managed this rapid growth while maintaining high-quality service and obtaining high NPS scores. As of August 2018, we had an NPS of 65, the highest NPS among our peers in our key markets in Brazil, according to a study comparing industry participants performed by the Brazilian Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics, or IBOPE.

We served over 267,000 active clients in Brazil as of December 31, 2018, including digital and brick-and-mortar merchants of varying sizes and types, although our focus is primarily on targeting the

 

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approximately 8.8 million SMBs. We believe these merchants have been historically underserved and overcharged by traditional bank and legacy providers that use older technology, less effective distribution networks through bank branches, and outsourced customer service and logistics support vendors. We also served 108 integrated partners as of December 31, 2018, which use or embed our solutions into their own offerings to enable their customers to conduct commerce more conveniently in Brazil. These integrated partners include global PSPs, digital marketplaces and ISVs.

We provide our clients with a powerful combination of solutions that help facilitate their in-store, online and mobile commerce activities, and empower them to:

 

   

Connect More Effectively—Our solutions allow our clients to connect more effectively by integrating and connecting to our cloud-based technology platform using simple and convenient APIs. These solutions provide powerful gateway services to encrypt, route, and decrypt transactions, and PSP solutions to onboard merchants and connect integrated partners.

 

   

Get Paid Quickly and Easily—We offer payment and digital account solutions to help our clients facilitate and manage their payments:

 

   

Payment Solutions: Payment collection is streamlined by accepting numerous forms of electronic payments and APMs such as boletos, and conducting a wide range of transactions in brick-and-mortar and digital storefronts in a quick and user-friendly manner. We also provide digital product enhancements to help our merchants improve their consumers’ experience, such as our split-payment processing, multi-payment processing, recurring payments for subscriptions, and one-click buy functionality.

 

   

Digital Account Solutions: We can offer our clients a digital account, which can be integrated to the POS and allows our clients to receive and make payments, issue boletos, pay taxes, all in a cost-effective and user-friendly way.

 

   

Grow Your Business—We have the ability to grow our clients’ businesses by automating and streamlining business processes at the point of sale for digital checkout. These solutions help our clients run their businesses more effectively and in an integrated manner. Our growth solutions include: