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Singapura Finance to invest US$3m in MatchMove PowerBank

FINANCE company Singapura Finance is investing US$3 million in MatchMove PowerBank (S) Pte Ltd (PowerBank), a wholly-owned subsidiary of homegrown digital payments startup, MatchMove Pay.

The Singapura Finance-MatchMove consortium is a contender for a digital full bank licence in Singapore.

In a bourse filing on Monday, mainboard-listed Singapura Finance noted that it had on Oct 16 entered into an agreement to subscribe for shares in PowerBank.

Singapura Finance will provide US$3 million in financing to support the establishment and growth of PowerBank, it said. The investment shall comprise US$1 million in equity financing and US$2 million in convertible debt financing. These will be funded by the group's internal resources, Singapura Finance said.

The convertible debt is convertible to Class A ordinary shares in PowerBank, subject to the conditions agreed with PowerBank, Singapura Finance added.

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Following the completion of the equity financing, Singapura Finance will hold approximately 10 per cent of PowerBank's share capital on a fully-diluted basis, or about 1.8 million Class A ordinary shares in the company.

Singapura Finance said the investment is an opportunity for it to acquire a "strategic stake in a business that has possible significant long-term growth potential". It added that the transaction meets one of its strategic goals to invest in the fintech sector, which its board believes could provide "synergistic opportunities to achieve growth in the financial services sector".

Last year, Singapura Finance also paid US$5 million for a 1.6 per cent stake in MatchMove.

PowerBank was incorporated by MatchMove in Singapore in June this year to apply for digital bank licences that may be issued by the financial market regulators of Singapore and other Asean nations.

In January this year, The Business Times reported that Singapura Finance and MatchMove were believed to have teamed up in hopes of landing a digital bank licence in Singapore.

This was confirmed in March, when MatchMove put its ambitions on the table, bidding for a digital full bank licence in the Republic that came with a hefty S$1.5 billion capital requirement. To do so, MatchMove said then that it would lead a consortium consisting of three other equity partners in the financial industry - Singapura Finance, UK fintech OpenPayd and Thailand's CP Group-linked Lightnet.

As at June 18, 14 of the 21 digital bank applications have progressed to the next stage of assessment. They comprise five digital full banks and nine digital wholesale banks.

Citing two sources familiar with the matter, Reuters previously reported that those shortlisted for the next round of the selection process for digital full bank licences include Grab and Singtel's joint venture, solo applicant Sea Ltd, a group headed by Razer Fintech, as well as the MatchMove-Singapura Finance consortium.

Beyond - a consortium led by Ron Sim's V3 Group - said it had proceeded to the next round of evaluation for the digital full bank licence, according to Reuters.

Singapura Finance shares last traded at 79 Singapore cents on Friday, down 1.5 cents or 1.9 per cent.

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