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African Rainbow Capital (ARC)-controlled TymeBank has set October as the launch month of its full-scale digital bank in the Philippines, to fire up its global expansion.

The investment holding company, founded by business magnate Patrice Motsepe and the digital bank’s majority shareholder, for the first time announced the debut month of its Philippines operations today in a quarterly update to shareholders.

ARC first announced in August last year its intention of taking TymeBank global, exporting its business concept and experience to Asia after receiving a digital banking licence from the Philippines Central Bank.

TymeBank’s Philippines expansion comes at a time the digital bank is experiencing rapid growth in SA, and the bank has since raked up almost five million customers, and has rolled out a bouquet of innovative services since inception.

The digital bank started exploring international opportunities early last year after securing R1.6 billion in funding from investors in the UK and Philippines, which led to the establishment of GOtyme, a digital bank domiciled in Manila.

In December, TymeBank also raised R1.1 billion ($70 million) from Chinese internet and technology giant Tencent and CDC Group, the UK’s development finance institution, to scale up its global plans.

Today, ARC announced: “TymeBank’s fellow subsidiary company, Tyme Global, based in Singapore, is set to launch a digital bank called GOtyme in the Philippines in October with its local partners, the Gokongwei family.”

To bolster TymeBank’s international growth strategy, ARC says, it assigned the bank’s former CEO Tauriq Keraan to a new international executive role and had contracted Coenraad Jonker, to take up the role of CEO of TymeBank.

Jonker is a founding member of TymeBank and executive chairman of Tyme Global, based in Singapore.

“This change in leadership has been approved by the Prudential Authority of the SA Reserve Bank. TymeBank is sustaining the momentum of acquiring about 130 000 customers per month. The bank is also making headway in increasing the number of customers with active accounts, which has proved to be challenging, given a tough economic environment with added pressure on consumers,” says ARC.

ARC, which has investments in different sectors, including telecom, today provided shareholders with an update of the company’s progress on strategic matters and a performance overview of significant investments for the first quarter of 2022.

Commenting on its investment in data-only network Rain, ARC says the business continues to perform well, and demand for both 4G and 5G services remains strong.

Rain recently participated successfully in the government-initiated spectrum auction that saw it acquire 2x10MHz in the 700MHz band and 20MHz in the 2.6GHz band for a total price of R1.43 billion.

ARC notes that although the additional spectrum acquired is expected to positively impact the valuation of the ARC Fund’s investment in Rain, the utilisation of the spectrum and its impact on Rain’s cash-flow forecast are still being finalised.

Therefore, it says, the estimated impact of the spectrum auction will only be reflected in the June 2022 valuation of the ARC Fund’s investment in Rain.

Also, ARC notified shareholders that it had existed Metrofibre, citing lower returns expected by the investment firm. ARC had picked up an 8.7% stake in Metrofibre in 2016, when the fibre land grab was ballooning, and four years on, the company wasn’t satisfied with the returns.

Today, ARC notified shareholders: “The transaction to divest from this business has been completed following recent approval by the industry regulator. The ARC Fund disposed of its Metrofibre investment for a total consideration of R275 million, realising an overall gain of R37 million. An amount of R244 million of the consideration was received in April 2022, with the remaining R31 million being receivable in June 2022.”

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