STOCK IHC International holding company
The investment represents 49.9 per cent of Lulo Bank's ownership, IHC said. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Abu Dhabi-based conglomerate International Holding Company PJSC announced on Monday a capital investment of Dh 734 million ($200 million) in Lulo Colombia S.A. -- which is also the holding company of Colombia’s first regulated digital bank, Lulo Bank S.A. -- through one of its subsidiaries.

The investment represents 49.9 per cent of Lulo Bank's ownership, IHC said.

The Colombian market is the fourth global market into which IHC has expanded its investment activities this year after the UK, India, and Turkey.

Commenting on the acquisition, IHC CEO Syed Basar Shueb said: "The fintech ecosystem in Latin America has risen quickly over the past couple of years with sustained growth observed in all segments and in the number of active fintech companies, especially digital banking which has witnessed the most substantial growth at an average annual rate of 57 per cent between 2017 and 2021 to reach 60 per cent.

“In the case of Colombia, it has made significant progress in terms of financial inclusion with the increase in access to financial products, which rose to 87 per cent. It’s critical for us to align any transaction with our growth strategies, whether to acquire new capabilities or consolidate, and Lulo Colombia S.A. sits very well with our expansion plans in Latin America.”

Lulo Bank is Columbia’s first fully digitalised bank has signed up more than 120,000 active users since it was launched in June this year and is set to complete more than 200,000 users’ applications before the end of 2022. The bank aims to achieve a customer base of 1 million in Colombia within the next three years.