SINGAPORE (June 24): Yoma Strategic announced on Wednesday that it was establishing a new company, Yoma MFS Holdings (Wave Holdco), to increase its existing stake and take a controlling interest in Digital Money Myanmar Limited (Wave Money).

Wave Money is Myanmar’s first and leading mobile financial services provider. It runs a network of more than 58,000 agents or “Wave Shops” in urban and rural areas across 295 out of the 330 townships nationwide.

Yoma Strategic currently has a 34% stake in Wave Money in a joint venture with First Myanmar Investment Public Company Limited, Yoma Bank, and Telenor, who own 10%, 5%, and 51% of Wave Money, respectively.

See: Yoma acquiring 34% stake in Myanmar's Wave Money for $25.6 mil

Wave Holdco plans to acquire the entirety of Telenor Group’s 51% stake in Wave Money for US$76.5 million (S$106.4 million), and will raise funds from a consortium of investors led by Yoma Strategic. Wave Money will become a subsidiary of Yoma Strategic once the acquisition is completed.

Upon the completion of the transactions, Yoma Strategic will invest up to an additional US$25 million, and become the largest controlling shareholder in Wave Money.

The acquisition will cement Yoma Strategic’s role as a leading player in Myanmar’s fintech sector. It will also allow the company to strengthen its interest in Myanmar’s rising financial services sector, and forge greater collaboration between Wave Money and the businesses under the Yoma Group.

“This acquisition is part of our goal to build a strong financial technology ecosystem in Myanmar. Wave Money continues to see sustained growth in its agent and digital platforms, with Wave Pay gaining strong traction during the COVID-19 pandemic through the acceleration in and adoption of cashless payment solutions,” says Melvyn Pun, CEO of Yoma Strategic.

“The investment by Ant Group will further fuel Wave Money’s growth trajectory and will help to create a greater value for our shareholders in the longer term,” he adds.

“Over the last three years, Wave Money has built up a strong team with its own capabilities to provide financial services, bringing financial inclusion for the people of Myanmar. Telenor has been a great strategic partner and we look forward to building on this partnership as Wave Money continues to provide an efficient and reliable method for people to conveniently pay or transfer money in Myanmar,” says Brad Jones, CEO of Wave Money.

“This is an opportune time for Telenor Group to divest. Both Yoma Group and Ant Group’s core operation is financial services and technology and they are therefore the strongest owners to take Wave Money forward,” says Lars Erik Tellmann, head of financial services at Telenor Group.

“Wave Money has built a leading position in money transfer and will continue to be a strategic distribution channel for our mobile operator, Telenor Myanmar. We are proud to have been part of Wave Money’s impressive growth journey from day one and contributed towards making Myanmar a more financially inclusive society,” Tellmann adds.

Shares in Yoma Strategic closed 1 cent higher, or 3.8% up, at 27.5 cents on Tuesday.

See also: Phillip Capital initiates coverage on Yoma with 'buy' on 'stellar growth' in financial services