State-backed digital bank Wio launches in UAE | The mighty 790 KFGO

By Youssef Saba

DUBAI (Reuters) – State-backed digital bank Wio said on Tuesday it had launched in the United Arab Emirates and would initially focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) while considering a possible public listing.

Wio, which calls itself a “platform bank”, has three main lines of business: digital banking applications, integrated finance and banking as a service, the provision of banking services through third-party distributors .

Wio is 65% owned by Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ and Alpha Dhabi, 25% by Etisalat and 10% by First Abu Dhabi Bank. The UAE central bank in February gave it initial approval to begin operations.

“SMBs have many pain points that have been outsourced historically for many reasons. And we think it’s very important to start by being close to them and understanding them,” said Wio President, Salem Al Nuaimi, to Reuters in an interview.

“Finding funding for them in different ways is something we will have to do.”

Wio chief executive Jayesh Patel said the bank could provide its own financing to SMEs, which it would serve with its Wio Business division, and also help them find other financing options.

Setting up Wio Business was currently the main focus, Al Nuaimi said.

Patel said Wio was in talks with companies, including a regional e-commerce player, to distribute its services.

It planned to expand its offerings to retail customers “in coming quarters.” Wio would also consider potential acquisitions in the region as it seeks to become the Middle East’s leading banking platform, the chairman said.

Al Nuaimi said Wio was well funded by its shareholders, and therefore did not need an initial public offering of shares to raise funds, but nevertheless said such an offering would likely happen at some point. given.

“I think here in the UAE there is a good market that has been and will continue to grow for listed companies. And so I think we will eventually get there,” Al Nuaimi said.

“There is no timeline for an IPO,” he added. “The schedule is to get it right.”

(Reporting by Yousef Saba; Editing by Bradley Perrett)

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