Axiata invests in micro-insurance operator

Alan Burkitt-Gray
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Malaysian operator joins Digicel and Millicom as investors in micro-insurance company BIMA

Malaysian mobile group Axiata has invested in Swedish micro-insurance company BIMA, which already has 27 million customers in 16 countries.

Axiata, which owns or has strategic investments in 10 operators in south and south-east Asia, is investing $16.8 million in the company via its Axiata Digital division.

Mohd Khairil Abdullah, CEO of Axiata Digital, said: “Investing in BIMA is a strategic move that positions Axiata Digital and Axiata mobile operating companies to shape the future of Digital Services in Asia.”

Axiata has 320 million customers in the region, potentially opening up that market to BIMA’s micro-insurance products. BIMA uses mobile technology to deliver insurance and health products to low-income consumers in emerging markets.

BIMA founder and CEO Gustaf Agartson said: “Asia … is home to some of our most successful and profitable markets as well as the consumers who will drive the digital services revolution. Axiata Digital’s investment will ensure that BIMA continues to lead the industry and capitalises on the significant opportunity in Asia.”

Existing shareholders in BIMA include privately owned mobile operator Digicel as well as Swedish investment group Kinnevik, and Africa/Latin American operator Millicom, plus LeapFrog Investments.

Axiata Digital replaces existing shareholders’ commitment for the second instalment of a C-series fundraising completed in June 2015. BIMA has raised $75 million since launch.

Abdullah said: “As a long-term partner, we recognise the strength of BIMA’s technology and model, and have seen its growth trajectory. Our shared commitment to innovation is a key driver behind Axiata Digital’s investment. Together we have the potential to transform the way consumers across Asia access and use products in the digital age.”

He added: “Alongside product development, we will prioritise geographic expansion through new local partnerships that will bring these life-changing services to millions of families across Asia.”