Philippines: AgriNurture Buys 51% of Fintech Firm

Jul 2020
Philippines, July, 22 2020 - Businessman Antonio Tiu-led AgriNurture Inc. (ANI) is taking over fintech firm Pay8 Inc. from the DFNN Group as part of a vision to “digitally transform” the agriculture and agrarian sector and usher farmers into the financial system.

ANI signed a memorandum of agreement to acquire from DFNN unit HatchAsia up to 51 percent of Pay8’s authorized capital stock for some P377.9 million after effecting an increase in its capitalization, ANI disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) on Tuesday. The PSE suspended trading of ANI shares on Tuesday, pending the submission of a more comprehensive disclosure on this transaction, which it said was covered by the rule on substantial acquisitions and reverse takeovers. The valuation is still subject to ANI’s conduct of due diligence before the execution of definitive agreements.

Pay8 provides payment solutions to utilities like provincial and rural electric cooperatives. It also has an existing contract with Philippine Postal Corp. to provide payment centers in far-flung and unconnected areas. Pay8 seeks to function like a neighborhood payment center, thus eliminating the need for people in remote areas to travel over land or sea just to make utility payments.As HatchAsia is partially owned by DFNN group of companies, the deal is seen to make use of the strength, network and technical expertise of both listed firms. “Through Pay8, the unbanked masses can have access to the banking grid even if they are in areas with no access to wired internet since it utilizes VSAT (dish) antennas. Linking the e-wallet of Pay8 to ANI’s affiliate banks within the ecosystem will allow farmers to access credit online and offline and withdraw its profit from any ATM throughout the country. ANI’s banks would also benefit having access to DFNN Group’s digital core banking platforms and secure identification platforms,” ANI said.Pay8 also aims to serve Winsun Green Ventures, a subsidiary of Greenergy Holdings Inc., likewise led by Tiu, which is set to introduce alternative energy generation options in the central business district and rural areas.

“With its acquisition of Pay8, ANI plans to leverage on its strength as a dominant player in farm-to-table models to bring marginalized farmers into the banking grid,” the disclosure said.ANI is building an ecosystem to promote financial inclusion among farmers. Through its affiliate BRB Digibank, the first electronic money institution-licensed rural bank, the group seeks to provide online microfinancing of farm inputs to contract farmers via agri vouchers.

The group plans to fold into one umbrella, Agri Token Inc., all these financial services.

ANI consolidates farm produce directly from farmers for foreign and local institutional clients. It recently signed a memorandum of agreement to launch with the Department of Agriculture the e-Kadiwa para sa Ani at Kita, linking its online produce delivery platform ANI Express to serve millions of Metro Manila households with produce direct from Filipino farmers.

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