Paramount and Star Media Group seek digital banking licence

Petaling Jaya, 30 June 2021: Paramount Corporation Berhad (Paramount) and Star Media Group (SMG) announced today that they have applied for a digital banking licence from Bank Negara Malaysia, as part of a five-member consortium, with the aim of accelerating their digital growth strategies.

Paramount Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jeffrey Chew said, “Paramount had earlier mentioned that it was looking at the feasibility of applying for a digital bank licence. We wish to confirm that we made an application as a lead applicant of a consortium to Bank Negara on 30 June 2021.”

The other members of the consortium comprise RCE Capital, a financial services company and a subsidiary of Amcorp Group Berhad, Prosper Palm Oil Mill Sdn Bhd, and a technology partner.

Chew said he hoped that through transformative technologies, Paramount would be able to bring innovative financial experience to Malaysians.

Star Media Group CEO Alex Yeow said, “The venture into digital banking is in line with SMG’s digital transformation strategy and is synergistic with our continuous efforts to grow within the digital sphere.”

“We are excited to explore this new business opportunity together with Paramount and other members of the consortium,” he said.

As custodian of The Star, one of Malaysia’s leading and trusted sources of English news, SMG offers integrated media solutions and holds a strong presence in print, digital, radio, as well as events and exhibitions, with a reach of over 24 million.

Yeow said that with SMG’s media platforms being largely digital-based, the Group is well-positioned to bring its extensive reach and unique expertise to the partnership with Paramount.

“Paramount’s future thinking aptitude is evident in their most recent venture into fintech. Together, we hope to be able to bring innovative solutions to meet the needs of consumers,” he added.

Paramount recently invested in Fundaztic, a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, marking its first steps into the financial technology sector.

With its core business in property development, Paramount divested its majority stake in its tertiary education and pre-tertiary businesses in 2019 and 2020 respectively, and has been on a lookout for new business opportunities. As Paramount is also expanding on its core property business, proceeds from the divestment have been used for the purchase of new land banks and for overseas expansion, among others.

It still has 35% and 20% stakes in the tertiary education business and pre-tertiary education businesses that it could monetise from 2022. Paramount also owns the tertiary education campuses in Penang, Shah Alam and Petaling Jaya worth about RM500.4 million.