Singapore Telecommunications, Southeast Asia’s largest telecommunications operator, said on Friday it has bought a 16.3% stake in Bank Fama International for 500 billion rupiah ($34.9 million) to pursue banking opportunities in Indonesia.
Singtel said its wholly owned subsidiary Singtel Alpha Investments acquired 2.4 billion new shares issued by the Indonesian bank, which is majority owned by a unit of conglomerate Elang Mahkota Teknologi.
Singtel, which has been seeking to grow outside its traditional telco business, has a digital banking joint venture in Singapore with Grab Holdings. The joint venture has also applied for a digital banking licence in Malaysia.
Grab, the region’s biggest ride hailing and food delivery firm, is also an investor in Fama, according to Singtel.
“This latest investment in digital banking is consistent with Singtel’s strategic reset of riding digital growth trends to build sustainable new businesses across Asia, particularly in markets where the group has a strong presence,” Singtel said in its statement.
Singtel has been attempting to advance its digital infrastructure growth strategy, first outlined in its strategic reset in May.
The company last year sold part of its Australia Tower Network (ATN), a wholly-owned subsidiary which operates Optus’ passive telecommunications tower infrastructure.
Singtel has also created a regional data centre business, which would in turn form part of an infrastructure platform “to capture new growth opportunities arising from the digital wave sweeping Asia”.
- Reuters with additional editing by Sean O’Meara