Yoma makes push into financial services in Myanmar

Myanmar-focused Yoma Strategic Holdings plans to acquire a big share of the country's leading mobile payment provider.

Yoma said yesterday that it aims to buy 34 per cent of Digital Money Myanmar (Wave Money) from First Myanmar Investment (FMI) for US$19.4 million (S$25.5 million).

FMI's controlling shareholder is Yoma executive chairman and Myanmar tycoon Serge Pun.

Yoma said it intends to grow the platform as the company's "fourth pillar" of business alongside real estate, consumer, and automotive and heavy equipment.

Mr Serge Pun, who is also Yoma's controlling shareholder, said: "Financial services is the backbone of the (Myanmar) economy, (but) the lack of credit and limitations in financial access is hampering growth.

"We aim to push innovative mobile services, including payment and credit extensions, to drive efficiency in the sector."

Wave Money was set up in 2015. Its biggest shareholder is Norwegian telco giant Telenor, with a 51 per cent stake.

Yoma said Wave Money has more than 20,000 agents across Myanmar, 10 times the number of bank branches in the country.

Although Wave Money reported a net loss for the nine months ended Dec 31 last year, as of January, monthly revenue had grown by 1,130 per cent year-on-year while daily transactions had increased 2,639 per cent, Yoma added.

Yoma's shares closed up one cent at 42 cents yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2018, with the headline 'Yoma makes push into financial services in Myanmar'. Print Edition | Subscribe