Singtel takes 16.3% stake in Indonesia's Bank Fama for $47 million

Singtel noted that Indonesia's population is the most unbanked and underbanked in South-east Asia. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Singtel has acquired a 16.3 per cent stake in an Indonesian bank for 500 billion rupiah (S$47 million) in cash, as part of its plans to pursue banking opportunities in the country.

In a bourse filing on Friday (Jan 21), the telco said its wholly owned subsidiary Singtel Alpha Investments has taken up 2.4 billion new shares issued by Bank Fama International.

Fama's investors include Nasdaq-listed digital services player Grab, which is also in a joint venture with Singtel to operate a digital bank in Singapore.

Singtel noted that Indonesia's population is the most unbanked and underbanked in South-east Asia, and expects that its investment will develop Fama's digital banking proposition and drive greater financial inclusion.

The net asset value of Fama was 1.04 trillion rupiah as at Jun 30, 2021. It is majority-owned by a subsidiary of Indonesian media and technology conglomerate Elang Mahkota Teknologi.

The Grab-Singtel tie-up was awarded a digital full-bank licence in Singapore in 2020. In July 2021, the joint venture also applied for a digital banking licence in Malaysia.

The Fama acquisition was funded via internal sources, said Singtel.

Its shares closed unchanged at $2.47 on Thursday.

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