NTT Data buys $154M stake in Malaysian payments firm

NTT Data acquires majority stake in Malaysian payments firm GHL, while the Philippines' Globe Telecom confirms it is seeking early IPO for popular GCash fintech business.

Robert Clark, Contributing Editor, Special to Light Reading

May 28, 2024

2 Min Read
Person holding a smartphone with NTT logo, another NTT logo in background
(Source: SOPA Images Limited/Alamy Stock Photo)

Asia's payment business is in the spotlight this week, with NTT Data buying a controlling stake in Malaysia's GHL and Globe Telecom weighing an IPO for GCash. NTT Data's Japan unit will acquire 58.7% of publicly listed GHL Systems for 724.1 million Malaysian ringgit (US$154.2 million), the companies announced Monday.

The acquisition will provide access to "services and know-how in the payment business and strengthen business foundations in the ASEAN region," NTT Data said. It also stated it would make a tender offer to GHL's other shareholders. 

NTT Data's Asia payments business includes VietUnion Online Services (Payoo) in Vietnam and iPay88 in Malaysia, NTT Data Payment Services in India and the CAFIS platform in Japan.

GHL Systems, listed on Bursa Malaysia, offers cashless payments and gateways in Malaysia, where it has 480,000 payment terminals, the Philippines and Thailand. The company has 900 staff and recorded revenue last year of MYR460.4 million (US$98 million).

The firm is the global IT services arm of the giant Japanese telco, newly enlarged by the merger with NTT Ltd last year. It reported net profit of 95.5 billion Japanese yen (US$609 million) on total sales of JPY4.37 trillion ($27.8 billion) in the 2023-24 financial year.

'Sooner rather than later'

NTT Data's stock closed 1.5% lower in Tuesday trading. GHL Systems rose 4%.
Meanwhile, Globe Telecom has confirmed it is considering an IPO for its hugely popular fintech app GCash as early as next year. In a stock exchange filing, the Philippines operator also acknowledged it was considering a dual listing in the Philippines and possibly the US.

Globe CEO Ernest Cu told Bloomberg last week: "We want to do it sooner rather than later. Sometime in 2025 would be the best estimate I can give you."

Cu chairs Globe Fintech Innovations Inc., the parent of Mynt, which operates GCash, whose services include payments, loans and insurance, with 94 million users and 6 million merchants.

Cu said GCash had attracted "a lot of interest" from foreign funds and financial institutions. "The valuations are good so there's temptation," he said. Mynt was set up in 2015 as a partnership between Globe, Ant Group, Ayala Corp and US PE firms.

It became the Philippines’ first unicorn in its 2021 funding round with a valuation of around $2 billion. The company says GCash has been profitable since 2022.

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About the Author(s)

Robert Clark

Contributing Editor, Special to Light Reading

Robert Clark is an independent technology editor and researcher based in Hong Kong. In addition to contributing to Light Reading, he also has his own blog,  Electric Speech (http://www.electricspeech.com). 

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