UAE’s IHC forays into Latin America with $200mn investment in Lulo Colombia

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Official Reporter
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Lulo Colombia
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UAE-based investment firm, International Holding Company (IHC) has entered the Latin American market with a $200 million (Dh734 million) investment in Lulo Colombia.

Through its subsidiary, the company acquired a 49.99 percent stake in the Colombian company, which is the holding company of Colombia’s first regulated digital bank, Lulo Bank, IHC said in a statement to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, where its shares are traded.

Lulo Bank is a fast-growing and new player that enters the field of neobanks in the Colombian market and plans to expand into other Latin American markets.

Syed Basar Shueb
Syed Basar Shueb

“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 percent between 2017 and 2021 to reach 60 percent. 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 percent. It’s critical for us to align any transaction with our growth strategies, whether to acquire new capabilities or consolidate, and Lulo Colombia sits very well with our expansion plans in Latin America.”

The Colombian market is the fourth global market where IHC has expanded its investment activities this year, following the United Kingdom, India, and Turkey.

Mr. Benjamin Gilinski, Chairman of Lulo Bank, said that, “Digital banking has come a long way in Colombia. Adoption of new behaviors and new technologies takes time, but it’s already dramatically changed how consumers interact with financial products in our market.”

“The financial companies that win in the future will be those that understand that human behavior is constantly changing and keep on investing in new technologies. We are thrilled to have IHC join our mission of revolutionizing the financial landscape in Latin America,” Mr. Gilinski added.

Related: UAE’s IHC acquires 54% stake in ICT provider Emircom for $68mn