SG Dealbook: UOB sells stake in Marco Polo; fundMyLife deal; ComfortDelGro investment

A man checks his phone at the entrance of the Singapore Exchange Ltd. (SGX) headquarters in Singapore. Photographer: Ore Huiying/Bloomberg

UOB divests its stake in Marco Polo, ConsultWho.sg is acquired by fundMy Life and ComfortDelGro expands its China fleet.

UOB offloads stake in Marco Polo

United Overseas Bank (UOB) has announced the sale of its 10.29 per cent stake in Marco Polo Marine for a consideration estimated at S$12.68 million, according to a stock exchange filing.

This follows its acquisition as part of Marco Polo’s court-approved refinancing and debt restructuring transaction. Heliconia Capital, a unit of Temasek Holdings, is reportedly the purchaser of the stake,

In late January, Apricot, the private investment firm of Singapore’s Teo family, injected S$20 million – a third of the $60 million rescue financing package – into Marco Polo Marine.

The company registered net losses of S$309 million for the nine months ended 30 June 2017. In October, Marco Polo Marine said, this was due to lower utilisation rates of the group’s vessels and lower charter rates, decreased revenues from shipbuilding and various impairment charges.

ConsultWho.sg acquired by fundMyLife

Singapore-based insurtech venture fundMyLife (fML) has acquired rival ConsultWho.sg (CW), according to an account by e27. Both companies provide a Q&A platform for users seeking financial advice and connecting financial advisors to potential clients. CW uses an open style while fML uses a closed model.

Financial terms of the deal are undisclosed. Singapore-based CW was led by former OCBC financial consultant Ian Lim. It monetises through lead generation, with financial advisers on the platform paying a fee when they are connected with a lead. They can also enhance their personal branding through the creation of financial advisory content.

Tan explained: “With ConsultWho.sg, we gain access to the pool of highly curated financial planners and their financial literacy content. fML looks out for financial advisers with several qualities. Not only must they be experienced, credible, and have strong social proofing, they must also be interested in educating consumers via content marketing as well.”

The acquisition will also see fML use CW’s collection of consumers’ financial questions to refine its natural language processing AI to categorise financial questions.

ComfortDelGro expands taxi business in Shenyang

ComfortDelGro Corp is spending RMB 71.6 million (S$15 million) to acquire 217 taxi licences and vehicles from Shenyang Tian Wen Taxi Co. to expand its taxi business in Shenyang, China. Shenyang is the capital of China’s Liaoning Province, according to a media release.

This will grow its taxi fleet grow to 1,503 vehicles. It is also investing RMB 5.3 million in a new 2,200 sq m vehicle repair workshop in nearby Jilin City to service its taxi fleet, as well as provide repair and maintenance services to third parties.

According to ComfortDelGro, its three taxi companies in Shenyang and Jilin – Shenyang ComfortDelGro Taxi Co., CityCab (Shenyang) Co., and Jilin ComfortDelGro Taxi Co. – have seen their fleet fully hired for several years.

In a statement, Yang Ban Seng, ComfortDelGro’s managing director and group CEO, said, “In China, cities like Shenyang have clear policies aimed at creating a level playing field for both the traditional taxi industry and the new private hire industry. Notwithstanding the ride-hailing competition, our taxi fleet is still fully hired out.”

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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.

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.