Malaysia’s Axiata in talks with potential partners for digital bank licence bids

FILE PHOTO - A security officer guards in front of the Axiata headquarters building in Kuala Lumpur May 28, 2014. REUTERS/Samsul Said

Malaysian telecoms firm Axiata Group is talking to eleven potential partners, including banks, to jointly bid for a digital banking licence, its deputy chief executive, Mohd Izzaddin Idris, said on Friday.

Malaysia’s central bank plans to issue up to five licences to new online banks offering either conventional or Islamic banking under a proposed framework set to be finalised by the end of June.

Last month, Reuters reported that Axiata was among companies including ride-hailing firm Grab, gaming firm Razer, AirAsia and lender CIMB, looking to apply for digital banking licences in Malaysia.

Axiata has provided comments to and been engaging the central bank since its draft proposal came out in December, Mohd Izzaddin told an earnings briefing.

Axiata has been “pursued by several parties” for partnership on the licensing bid, he said, adding that the draft did not specifically require the firm to partner with a bank, though it made sense to do so, he added.

The firm’s digital ventures arm, Axiata Digital Services, houses its digital ventures and owns the e-wallet Boost.

Axiata also said it was not holding any talks with Norwegian telecoms firm Telenor ASA over a possible deal.

Last month, Bloomberg said Telenor and Axiata‘s top shareholder, Khazanah Nasional Bhd, were in talks, just four months after the carriers scrapped a planned merger of their Asia operations.

The company also said on Friday it plans an initial public offering of its unit Robi in Bangladesh by the last quarter of this year and expects to raise 255 million ringgit ($60.8 million).

On the potential listing of its telecoms tower business, edotco, Axiata said it was still looking to acquire more tower assets and was in no rush.

“We are evaluating the state of readiness of edotco because we want to make sure it has the right size,” Mohd Izzaddin said. “We want to build a certain critical mass before pursuing a listing.”

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.