Entity owned by Emtek executive helps Grab trim stake in OVO, comply with regulations

Singapore superapp Grab has managed to bring in a prominent Indonesian businessman as a new investor to its Indonesian e-payment service Ovo — a move made to comply with a regulation covering a local share ownership requirement.

According to legal filings, Grab now holds 79.5% of shares in Ovo’s parent company after the latter’s new rights issue. That brings the Singaporean company’s stake down from the previous 90% it had after purchasing shares earlier in the month from Tokopedia, local conglomerate Lippo Group and Japanese financial services company Tokyo Century.

Taking the bulk of the newly issued shares is an entity named Abhimata Anugrah Abadi, which is 99.5% owned by Alvin Sariaatmadja, president director at local media conglomerate Elang Mahkota Teknologi, better known as Emtek. Abhimata owned 12.4% of Ovo’s parent as of Thursday.

Grab signed a strategic partnership with Emtek earlier this year.

“We are excited to complete Ovo’s ownership restructuring process, in compliance with local regulations and through close coordination with the regulator,” a spokesperson for the e-payment operator said Friday when contacted by Nikkei Asia.

“With the support of shareholders, we are ready to accelerate the next phase of our growth, and look forward to offering an even broader range of differentiated payments and financial services solutions that are tailored to the needs of Indonesian consumers,” the spokesperson added.

Bank Indonesia regulations dictate that at least 15% of shares in an e-payment operator need to be held by Indonesian citizens and/or entities. Grab was seeking a local partner to comply with the regulation.

Aside from Grab and Abhimata’s ownership, 3.2% of Ovo’s parent is held by IDE Teknologi Indonesia, a local company with ties to an Indonesian one that Grab acquired, with the other 4.7% held by Cakra Finansindo Investama, a local investment firm.

With regulatory hurdle now cleared and majority ownership secured, Grab will look to expand its market share in the country’s competitive digital payments space.

According to research by Boku, a U.S. mobile payment company, Ovo had 38% market share in 2020, while its main rivals — ShopeePay, an arm of Singapore’s Sea, and GoPay, the payment service from Indonesian private tech company GoTo — have shares of 15.6% and 13.2%, respectively.

The article was first published on Nikkei Asia.

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.

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.