DBS Group Emerges as Southeast Asia's Most Valuable Company

Updated on
  • DBS shares advances to a record; Singtel shares decline
  • Southeast Asia’s largest bank leverages ‘tech transformation’

DBS Group headquarters in Singapore.

Photographer: Ore Huiying/Bloomberg

Reaping the rewards of going big on tech, DBS Group Holdings Ltd. has pushed past Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. to become Southeast Asia’s biggest company by market capitalization.

Adopting a “digital to the core” strategy, Singapore’s largest bank has signaled that it will focus on customers who have generated a consistently higher return on equity.

Read more: Gadfly on DBS’ adoption of technology

The lender’s stock added 1.5 percent to a record at the Singapore close on Friday, giving it a market capitalization of S$63.94 billion ($47.5 billion), compared with Singtel’s S$60.25 billion. The telecommunications company, which declined 0.3 percent on Friday, is expected to face more competition from new Singapore mobile-phone entrant TPG Telecom Ltd.

Dominance of Tech

Tech stocks from Apple Inc. to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. make up the world’s seven biggest companies by market value amid improving investor outlook for the industry.

"Some of this optimism may be reflective of what is happening with the tech firms," said Diksha Gera, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst in Singapore. "DBS is among the rare banks in the region who appears to be taking the challenge head-on with an extensive tech transformation."

DBS Chief Executive Officer Piyush Gupta delivered his digital strategy to investors and analysts last week, seeking to lower costs and boost returns. The bank has rallied 44 percent this year, more than twice the increase on the Bloomberg Asia Pacific Banks Index. Singtel added 1.1 percent, trailing the 13 percent gain in the Bloomberg Asia Pacific Telecommunications Index.

Also see: DBS’ Earnings Poised to Rebound on Multipronged Revenue Boost

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