Yoma to take 34% stake in mobile payment provider Wave Money in new financial services move

Serge Pun, chairman of Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd.
Serge Pun, chairman of Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd. PHOTO: THE BUSINESS TIMES

SINGAPORE - Yoma Strategic Holdings on Tuesday announced plans to acquire a 34 per cent stake in Digital Money Myanmar Co, Ltd (Wave Money) from First Myanmar Investment Company Limited (FMI) for US$19.4 million.

The mainboard-listed company said the acquisition will spearhead its expansion into the financial services sector that will target the underserved markets in Myanmar through payment and lending offerings.

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

Serge Pun, Yoma's executive chairman said, "Adding financial services as our fourth pillar is one of the most significant developments for Yoma Strategic in recent years. Financial Services is the backbone of the (Myanmar) economy, currently the lack of credit and limitations in financial access is hampering growth. We aim to push innovative mobile financial services, including payment and credit extensions, to drive efficiency in the sector.

"Wave Money has an excellent head start with its broad reach across the country, and is a platform that we will leverage as we develop our offering in the sector."

After Yoma's acquisition, which will be funded within existing capital plans, Norwegian telco Telenor will hold a 51 per cent stake in Wave Money, while FMI will have a 10 per cent interest and Yoma Bank will hold the remaining 5 per cent stake.

Yoma said Wave Money has over 20,000 agents across Myanmar, 10 times the number of bank branches in the country1. As of January 2018, its monthly revenue had grown by 1,130 per cent year-on-year while its daily transactions had increased 2,639 per cent.

In a separate filing to the Singapore Exchange on Tuesday, Yoma said SGX has granted a waiver to the company from seeking shareholders' approval for the proposed acquisition.

Its shares closed down 1 Singapore cent, or 3.5 per cent, at S$0.41 on Monday.