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Keppel, DBS ink deal to work on 5G and other digital business solutions for clients

SINGAPORE blue chips Keppel Corp and DBS will jointly explore new digital opportunities to meet customers' and suppliers' needs, under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) unveiled on Wednesday evening.

Their service-improvement plans include banking solutions that tap Keppel-owned telco M1's 5G wireless technology, as well as digital supply chain financing for Keppel's supplier ecosystem.

There are three broad initiatives, slated to be rolled out over the rest of this year. They are not expected to have a material impact on the net tangible assets or earnings per share of Keppel Corp for the financial year, said the two companies' joint statement.

Under the 5G customer engagement strategy, M1 and DBS have agreed to build new 5G-enabled features for digital banking - such as advanced facial recognition, augmented reality and smart devices. They also plan to develop digital tools to deliver bundled services to enterprise clients large and small.

Secondly, Keppel Corp and DBS are studying the feasibility of a supply chain finance programme, developed by DBS, for the Keppel group's supplier ecosystem. Under the pilot phase, both partners will customise quick and cost-effective digital financing solutions for M1's suppliers, which are mainly small and medium-sized enterprises.

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Lastly, DBS will extend its four consumer marketplace platforms to Keppel consumer businesses - M1, as well as utilities providers Keppel Electric and City Gas - to create bundled services for retail customers. Keppel Electric is already a key partner on the DBS Utilities marketplace; the other digital platforms are for property, travel and cars.

Francois van Raemdonck, Keppel Corp's director of group strategy and development, said the group sees benefits in exploiting its business-to-consumer positions and could explore how technology and collaboration enhance service to customers and suppliers.

"We are pleased to work with a like-minded partner like DBS, Singapore's largest bank, to jointly explore new opportunities and uncover new profit pools for both companies," he said. He is also managing director of Keppel Corp's wholly-owned Keppel Technology and Innovation unit, which signed the MOU for Keppel.

Tan Su Shan, group head of institutional banking at DBS Bank, also said that tie-up would speed up digital adoption and boost efficiencies and outcomes.

Keppel shares closed at S$4.16, up S$0.04 or 0.97 per cent before the announcement. DBS ended higher by S$0.015 or 0.76 per cent, at S$19.89.

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