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Cebuana Lhuillier acquires stake in fintech firm SCI Ventures

Non-bank financial services firm Cebuana Lhuillier is acquiring a stake in blockchain platform Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI) Ventures Inc. in a bid to enter the digital financial services market.

“The thrust of the group is definitely toward digital financial services. Fintech (financial technology) is a space we are looking at,” P.J. Lhuillier Inc. president and CEO Jean Henri Lhuillier said during the contract signing with SCI Ventures in Makati City on Thursday.

P.J. Lhuillier is the parent company of Cebuana Lhuillier.

The company did not disclose the amount it invested to acquire a stake in the blockchain firm.

Digital transformation is a natural progression for Cebuana Lhuillier with the influx of foreign digital payment giants and local startups entering the Philippine market, Lhuillier said.

The company is already servicing millions of Filipinos in terms of microloans, microinsurance, and local and international money transfers, he noted.

SCI Ventures CEO and co-founder John Bailon said the partnership focuses on developing financial services applications and new technology for Filipinos.

SCI Ventures will introduce blockchain solutions and services to Cebuana Lhuillier’s 4,000 domestic partners and one million combined physical and virtual touchpoints worldwide.

“Cebuana Lhuillier’s extensive brick-and-mortar network is unmatched in reach and efficiency, and going digital is a natural step forward for the company. SCI is excited to be part of this journey as a technology partner,” SCI Ventures CCO and co-founder Miguel Cuneta said.

Cebuana Lhuillier operates 2,500 branches nationwide, with 11 million active users under its loyalty card program. It serves around 25 million Filipinos in the country and overseas.

SCI Ventures is a blockchain services fintech company, backed by South Korean tech giant Kakao Talk—an instant messaging application used by 93% of smartphone users in South Korea. —VDS, GMA News