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Telenor Group owns a 34.2 percent stake in Wave Money, following Ant Financial Services Group’s (“Ant Group”) investment that was announced in May.
Telenor Group will receive US$76.5 million from the divestment, an attractive return since Wave Money in Myanmar was launched together with First Myanmar Investment Co. Ltd and Yoma Bank in November 2016.
“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. Wave Money has built a leading position in money transfer and will continue to be a strategic distribution channel for Telenor Myanmar, our mobile operator in the country. 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,” says Lars Erik Tellmann, Head of Financial Services at Telenor Group.
Endorsement for the transaction is being sought from the Central Bank of Myanmar.
Partnership between Telenor Myanmar and Wave Money to continue
The local telecom company Telenor Myanmar continues to be a wholly owned subsidiary of Telenor Group. As the leading e-wallet in Myanmar, Wave Money will remain an important digital partner for Telenor Myanmar and the strong co-operation between the two companies will continue. The co-operation will result in attractive payment offerings for both Wave and Telenor customers, promoting financial inclusion and increasing the digitalisation of the Myanmar economy.
Wave Money currently runs a network of more than 57,000 agents or “Wave Shops” in urban and rural areas across Myanmar, covering approximately 89 percent of the country. In 2019, revenue and transaction numbers tripled. Wave Money became EBITDA positive in September 2018, two years after its launch and has continued to maintain profitability.
In May it was announced that Ant Group will join the strategic partnership as a substantial shareholder and invest US$73.5 million in Wave Money. Ant Group is the operator of Alipay, the world’s largest digital payment and lifestyle platform.
Cathrine Stang Lund