Axiata Group, a Malaysian telecom firm, has been in talks with as many as 11 different partners to bid for a digital banking license in the country, according to a report by Reuters.
Mohd Izzaddin Idris, the company’s deputy chief executive, said Axiata was in talks with banks as well.
The central bank in Malaysia said it will issue five licenses to online banks that offer either conventional or Islamic banking. The framework of the licensing is expected to be determined by the end of June.
Idris said that Axiata has been a part of the conversation with the central bank since the proposals came out in December, and that it has been “pursued by several parties” to team up on the bid. He said that while the draft from the central bank doesn’t require a partnership, it made sense for Axiata to seek one out.
Axiata has a digital ventures department called Axiata Digital Services, which handles all of its digital endeavors, including the company’s eWallet.
Robi, a separate part of Axiata, will move forward with an initial public offering (IPO) in Bangladesh by Q4 of this year. The move is expected to raise 255 million ringgit ($60.8 million).
Axiata also said it wanted to acquire more assets for its telecom tower firm, edotco, and said it was in no rush to list the business publicly. “We are evaluating the state of readiness of edotco because we want to make sure it has the right size,” Idris said. “We want to build a certain critical mass before pursuing a listing.”