Issue 26

People Digest: GOJEK appoints group chief data officer; Fave ropes in senior execs in Malaysia

Indonesia’s ride-hailing firm GOJEK has appointed Gautam Kotwal as its group chief data officer, while Singapore-based O2O platform Fave has named a CFO and MD for Malaysia. 

GOJEK appoints group chief data officer. 

Indonesia’s ride-hailing firm GOJEK has appointed Gautam Kotwal as its group chief data officer to expand its business intelligence and data science capabilities, per a statement. 

In this role, Kotwal will be responsible for managing GOJEK’s overall data strategy and teams across business intelligence, data engineering, data science, and fraud. He will also provide integrated oversight for all data-related functions at the ride-hailing unicorn. 

Based in Singapore, he will report to GOJEK co-founder Kevin Aluwi. Kotwal has more than 20 years of Silicon Valley experience in leadership roles in engineering, data analytics, and machine learning. 

Prior to GOJEK, Kotwal has done stints at Albertsons, Kohl’s and Netflix. He was one of the early engineers in the Netflix Streaming team, enabling the company’s growth through the launch of streaming services across TV, gaming platforms, and mobile. GOJEK has 3,000 employees in its data function to date, spanning technology, operational, and administrative roles. 

Most recently, GOJEK Entertainment Group, a new division of GOJEK, appointed Edy Sulistyo as its chief executive officer. 

Fave ropes in CFO and MD in Malaysia. 

Fave, an offline-to-online platform for small and medium enterprises, has hired Jason Tan as CFO and Jake Abdullah as managing director in Malaysia, according to a statement. As the CFO, Tan will be responsible for driving Fave’s economic growth and overseeing all financial operations including fundraising, corporate development, besides helping the firm venture into new markets and business verticals. 

Tan has more than 17 years of experience in Southeast Asia’s financial services industry, having held key roles in finance, strategic planning, corporate development and operations. Before joining Fave, he was the CFO at OVO, one of Indonesia’s leading startups specialising in digital payments, rewards and privileges. 

Prior to OVO, Jason was a director at CIMB Group. Jake Abdullah, meanwhile, was previously the CEO of Astro Radio, Malaysia. He was instrumental in setting up four Astro-affiliated radio stations overseas, namely Aamar FM and Power FM in India; and Gen FM and Jak FM in Jakarta. 

PThe new additions will provide Fave with a strong regional foothold to increase its market share in Southeast Asia, as well as strengthen its position as a market leader, the company said in its statement. In 2018, the loyalty and payments platform raised $20 million in Series B funding led by investors Sequoia Capital, Venturra Capital and SIG. 

FAVE acquired F&B startups WAAVE, CutQ and FoodTime in Singapore and Malaysia in May. It now operates in over 35 cities in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia.


From – Deal Street Asia


Toyota to invest $2b in developing electric vehicles in Indonesia

Toyota Motor Corp plans to invest $2 billion to develop electric vehicles (EVs) in Indonesia over the next four years, starting with hybrid vehicles, Indonesia’s coordinating ministry for maritime affairs said. 

“From 2019 to 2023, we will progressively increase our investment to 28.3 trillion rupiah ($2 billion),” Toyota president Akio Toyoda was quoted as saying in a statement released by the ministry on Thursday. 

The Japanese carmaker said this month that it aimed for half its global sales to be from electric vehicles by 2025, five years ahead of schedule, and will tap Chinese battery makers to meet the accelerated global shift to electric cars. The deal was agreed at a meeting in Osaka on Thursday between Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Pandjaitan and Toyoda. 

“Because the Indonesian government already has an electric vehicle development map, Toyota considers Indonesia a prime EV investment destination,” Toyoda said in the statement. He said Toyota would follow the government’s EV plan by investing in stages, starting with the development of hybrid vehicles. 

Monet, the self-driving car joint venture of Toyota and SoftBank Corp, separately told Reuters in June it plans to begin operating in Southeast Asia next year. 


Indonesia, the region’s largest economy, has plentiful reserves of nickel laterite ore, a vital ingredient in the lithium-ion batteries used to power EVs, and has been making a push to attract foreign carmakers. 

Officials are betting Indonesia, which is already Southeast Asia’s second-largest car production hub, can become a major regional player in lithium battery production and feed the fast-rising demand for EVs. The country announced earlier in 2019 plans to introduce a fiscal scheme that will offer tax cuts to EV battery producers and automakers, as well as preferential tariff agreements with other countries that have a high EV demand. Indonesian ministers told Reuters in December that Korean carmaker Hyundai Motor Co plans to start producing EVs in Indonesia as part of an around $880 million auto investment in the country. 

Japan’s Mitsubishi meanwhile announced in mid-2018 it would work with the Indonesian government to research infrastructure that could accommodate EVs. Analysts are cautious however on how quickly Indonesia’s EV ambitions can be carried out, as some of its lithium battery projects require complicated nickel smelter technology. 

The ministry’s statement on Thursday gave no details on how Toyota, which already makes batteries for hybrids and hybrid plug-ins, would implement its investment plans. Toyota was not immediately reachable for comment, but said in June it would partner with China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd (CATL) and EV maker BYD Co Ltd for battery procurement.

From – Deal Street Asia

IFC to make $8m quasi-equity investment in Vietnam-based Nafoods

International Finance Corporation (IFC) has invested a quasi-equity investment of $8 million in Vietnam-based Nafoods Group to enable the company to expand its fruit processing capacity, boost exports and grow the new fruit seedling business. 

The $8-million financing is in the form of redeemable convertible preference shares. It is part of a $28.2-million package that also includes internally generated cash and equity/bank borrowings that IFC had proposed earlier, DEALSTREETASIA reported in January this year. 

The investment will fund the expansion of Nafoods Group’s processing factory in Long An province, south of Vietnam, and the construction of a packing house in the country’s Central Highlands, as well as the development of new fruit seedlings business. Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange-listed Nafoods is a niche fruit processor and exporter with a leading position in passion fruit, IFC said. 

The company sources more than 13,300 tonnes of fresh and processed fruits annually from various regions in Vietnam. “IFC’s long-term funding and technical advice could not be more timely as we are trying to develop higher value for our products by adopting safe and sustainable practices and by improving our production facilities,” said Nguyen Manh Hung, Nafoods chairman. 

As a result of the investment, Nafoods expects to increase the number of farmers along its supply chain by 11,500 and to implement a globally standardised food safety management system. Historically known as an agriculture country, this sector in Vietnam accounted for 16 per cent of its GDP and 17 per cent of export revenues. 

Key agricultural exports such as fruits and vegetables have grown rapidly over the past five years, but the bulk of the produce in Vietnam is still exported in fresh form and at less competitive prices due to lower quality, according to IFC. 

“As Vietnam seeks to increase economic competitiveness and access to international markets, developing a high value-added and export-oriented agribusiness sector will help unlock the industry’s full potential,” commented Kyle Kelhofer, IFC country manager for Vietnam, Cambodia, and Lao PDR. 

Over the next 18 months, IFC will also work with Nafoods’ fruit farmers and suppliers in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Lao to help them conform to global sustainable farming standards and practices, in partnership with New Zealand and the Slovak Republic. 

In Vietnam, the project will be implemented as a pilot for about 1,000 farmers on 3,000 hectares of land for producing passion fruit, dragon fruit, and coconut.

From – Deal Street Asia

Australia’s Tasplan & MTAA Super explore merger to create $15b fund

Australian pension managers Tasplan and MTAA Super are considering combining to create a A$22 billion ($15.4 billion) fund, in the latest sign of consolidation in the nation’s superannuation industry. 

The two funds signed an agreement to explore a merger, according to an emailed statement Friday. Tasplan is a multi-industry not-for-profit fund managing A$9.5 billion in assets, while MTAA oversees about A$13 billion in retirement savings for workers in the motor trades and allied industries. 

The announcement came after Statewide Super on Friday announced it was walking away from separate plans to merge with Tasplan and WA Local Government Super Plan. That three-way merger had a high risk of failing as it was too complex and may have taken two years to complete, Statewide Chief Executive Officer Tony D’Alessandro said in an interview. 

Consolidation in Australia’s A$2.8 trillion pensions industry is gathering pace amid increased scrutiny of under-performing funds and growing pressure to cut fees and boost returns. 

A government-commissioned review earlier this year found the superannuation system, which invests the mandatory retirement savings of Australians, was beset by inefficiencies and called for more mergers. Tasplan and MTAA said a deal could build a fund with “significant scale” that could deliver better returns for members. 

Statewide, a A$10 billion fund which invests the retirement savings of local government workers, said it is in early-stage merger talks with three other pension funds. “We’re certainly in the game of pursuing other mergers,” said D’Alessandro. 

“All things being equal, tripartite was probably a bridge too far.” WA Super said in a statement it continues to be “open to future merger discussions if they are in our members’ best interest.” . 

KPMG sees a wave of mergers on the horizon, and expects the number of superannuation funds managed by the prudential regulator to halve in the next decade.

From – Deal Street Asia

Nexon founder said to shelve sale of $13b Asian game developer

Nexon Co.’s founder has shelved a sale process for his stake in the $13 billion Asian game developer, people with knowledge of the matter said. 

South Korean billionaire Kim Jung-ju couldn’t reach an agreement on price with suitors, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Kim owns nearly half of Tokyo-listed Nexon through his holding company NXC Corp. 

Private equity firms Hillhouse Capital, KKR & Co. and Blackstone Group LP were among parties considering bids for the Nexon stake earlier in the process, Bloomberg News has reported. Chinese internet company Tencent Holdings Ltd. was considering teaming up with other suitors for a joint offer, people with knowledge of the matter said earlier. 

Kim could still decide to revive the sale at a later date, the people said. Representatives for NXC and Nexon didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment outside regular business hours. 

The Korea Economic Daily newspaper reported Kim’s plans to halt the sale process on Wednesday in Seoul, citing unidentified people. Kim founded Nexon in the mid-1990s and pioneered the use of loot boxes, where players purchase virtual merchandise, to help create South Korea’s largest online game publisher. 

In 2011, he listed Nexon in Japan, tapping a larger and more liquid stock market. Since then, he has slowly lowered his stake through occasional share sales.

From – Deal Street Asia
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