JG Summit gets stake in South African digital bank

Published February 23, 2021, 4:58 PM

by James A. Loyola

The Gokongwei flagship JG Summit Holdings Inc. (JGS) has invested $5 million to acquire a minority stake in Tyme, one of the world’s fastest-growing digital banks based in South Africa.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, JG Summit said Tyme is seeking to explore emerging markets in developing economies particularly in the ASEAN.

JG Summit has taken part in an estimated P5.3 billion (US$110 million) investment in Tyme, along with Apis Growth Fund II, a private equity fund managed by Apis Partners LLP, and South African investment holdings company African Rainbow Capital (ARC).

Tyme, whose international management arm, TymeGlobal is headquartered in Singapore, is considered as one of the world’s leading digital banking network for emerging markets, and is majority owned by ARC.

JGS President Lance Y. Gokongwei

With the move, JGS, through its corporate venture capital vehicle, JG Digital Equity Ventures (JGDEV), reinforces its foray into global Innovations and Fintech as part of its vision of becoming one of the biggest digital conglomerates in the country and in the ASEAN.

With Tyme in its portfolio of investments, JGDEV brings to the JGS ecosystem a deeper understanding of the success of digital banking in developing economies such as South Africa with the aim of replicating it in a similar setting such as the Philippines.

JGS Summit is looking to bring Tyme’s digital experience and innovation to the Philippines to support the initiatives of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) in bringing inclusive financial services further into its population.

“We see digital banking as the next growth area globally and increasingly in ASEAN and so we are excited to partner with global investment giants Apis and ARC in taking part in this global play by building further success for South Africa’s leading digital bank TymeBank,” said JGS President Lance Y. Gokongwei. 

He added that, “The investment not only propels the Gokongwei Group to accelerate its foray into disruptive digital plays, it also allows us to learn more about TymeBank’s experiences that provide a good impetus for us in considering to apply their technology and success in the Philippines.”

“With the Philippines progressively going into digital banking to bring about better financial inclusion for a greater majority of its population, this augurs well to help us successfully deliver on our purpose as a business — that of having an unrelenting commitment to provide our customers with better choices, creating shared success with our various stakeholders,” said Gokongwei.

JGDEV President Jojo Malolos said JGDEV endeavors to use Tyme’s experience and success to create significant value to the core businesses of the Gokongwei Group while leveraging on the its ecosystem to further drive digital transformation for the conglomerate.

“COVID has accelerated adoption of digital technologies in the country and for us, this investment reinforces our capability to bring financial services deeper into the group’s ecosystem and the underserved segments of the Philippine population. Tyme’s disruptive innovation will help us to better adopt an agile and innovative mindset to provide better choices to customers,” Malolos said.