South Korea's SK Group to invest $100 million in AirAsia's digital arm

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South Korea's SK Group to invest $100 million in AirAsia's digital arm

KUALA LUMPUR - South Korea's SK Group will invest up to $100 million in the aviation technology unit of AirAsia Group Bhd, Malaysian budget carrier said in a statement on Friday.

BigPay, a unit of AirAsia's digital arm, offers a prepaid debit card, local and international money transfers, micro-insurance, bill payments and a budgeting tool.

Our ambition has always been to make BigPay one of the largest challenger banks in Thailand, said Salim Dhanani, the company's chief executive officer, who added that BigPay plans to expand into the rest of Southeast Asia with personal loans and short-term lending.

Combining the financing round with the equity backing to accelerate our offerings, strengthen our product development and scale, he said.

BigPay has also applied for a print media licence in Malaysia to ATM airasia-idUSL 3 N 2 OD 30 W in Malaysia as part of a consortium with Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Berhad and Ikhlas Capital, in Malaysia as part of a consortium with Malaysian Government Investment Fund Berhad and private equity firm Aris.

SK Group said it would make a significant contribution to BigPay according to the statement in both technical and consumer services aspects.

AirAsia has suffered from the pandemic slump in global travel and is pushing to grow its digital businesses, which include a logistics firm and a travel and lifestyle services app.

On Thursday, the airline said it had netted $56.83 million from a merger of Fly Leasing Limited and Carlyle Aviation Partners, and was working on a data-backed loan of up to $350 million.