Image Credit: Globe Telecoms

Globe Telecom Inc.'s popular fintech app GCash may go public in the Philippines next year as it keeps the door open for new investors and an overseas listing.

"We want to do it sooner rather than later. Sometime in 2025 would be the best estimate I can give you," Globe CEO Ernest Cu said in an interview on Wednesday. Cu chairs Globe Fintech Innovations Inc., or Mynt, the holding company of GCash and the entity that will do the initial public offering.

While the preference is to go public in the Philippines, Cu said the group is studying a dual listing, with the second IPO possibly in the US. "The rationale is trying to take advantage of the liquidity in the US market," he said, citing limited trading volumes in the Philippines.

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Cu declined to say the valuation that Globe is seeking for GCash and the amount that the company hopes to raise from the IPO. Mynt was valued at more than $2 billion after its last funding round in 2021.

While there's no urgency for an IPO since GCash "- which has 94 million users "- is still growing and profitable, Cu said the company has "investors who would like to see some liquidity, so we may have to do it at some point."

Globe owns around 35 per cent of Mynt, while China's Ant Group has about 34 per cent stake, Cu said. Other investors include Warburg Pincus, Bow Wave Capital and Ayala Corp. Ant may hold on to its interest if Globe goes ahead with the GCash IPO, he added.

Ahead of the IPO, GCash has received 'a lot of interest' from foreign funds, financial institutions and private investors to invest in the company. "The valuations are good so there's temptation," Cu said. "We are not ruling it out entirely."

GCash forms part of Globe's drive to become a tech-centric enterprise, diversifying from its maturing core telco business.

"There's this paranoia that we have that one day this will plateau," Cu said of the company's telco revenue in an interview with Bloomberg TV's David Ingles and Stephen Engle earlier on Wednesday. "Growth all over the world as far as telco revenues have been challenged. I think it's no secret," he added.

Globe reported a 3 per cent increase in first-quarter service revenue to 41.1 billion pesos or $708 million, the same growth it posted for all of 2023. But Globe's share in Mynt's equity earnings more than doubled to 962 million pesos, representing 11 per cent of its pre-tax income.

The company, which counts Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. and Philippine conglomerate Ayala Corp. as major shareholders, is also looking at sectors like healthcare and "others that we can sort of effect through digital means," he said.

"Our fintech business while profitable and growing tremendously is still far behind in terms of revenue," Cu said.