Singapore’s Great Eastern Life is paying US$70 million for a 21.87% stake in an e-wallet app operator in neighbouring Malaysia owned by Axiata Digital Services Sdn Bhd., a “strategic investment” that the insurer says will help it participate in the firm’s financial technology expansion in the region.
Axiata Digital will retain the rest of the shareholding in the e-wallet operator, Boost Holdings.
Great Eastern and Axiata Digital say in a joint statement that they expect the deal to be completed in the next few months, subject to regulatory approvals.
“This strategic investment will enable Great Eastern to participate in Axiata’s growing fintech expansion plans in the region,” Khor Hock Seng, the insurance company’s group chief executive officer, says in the statement. “Axiata’s focus on providing financial services for the underserved, unbanked and under insured customer segment also resonates well with our business strategy.”
According to the statement, Boost had over 7.5 million users and 170,000 merchant touchpoints across Malaysia as of March 2020.
Axiata Digital says it will use money from the stake sale to finance its expansion, including bolstering the credit scoring technology of its micro-financing platform, Aspirasi, and Boost’s payment system.
Great Eastern Life, a unit of Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation, has around S$90 billion (US$63.9 billion) of total assets currently.