(Bloomberg) -- Globe Telecom Inc., the Philippines’ second-biggest telecommunications company, expects e-wallet unit GCash to be ready for an initial public offering by yearend, President and CEO Ernest Cu said. 

“We’re pretty much ripe for it. The growth is there, the profitability has been there for almost two years now,” Cu said in an interview on Thursday with Bloomberg Television’s David Ingles and Yvonne Man. “The plan is to be push-button ready by the end of the year. Let’s see where it takes us,” he said.

GCash is the flagship payment platform of Globe Fintech Innovations Inc., or Mynt, which brought in Chinese giant Ant Group Co. as partner in 2017. It also offers crypto, savings, investments and insurance services and has over 76 million users as of the fourth quarter of 2022, Globe said earlier this year. 

The popularity of the mobile payment app surged during the pandemic as most consumers opted for cashless transactions from online shopping and bill payments to transport fares.

Globe, which counts Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. and Philippine conglomerate Ayala Corp. as its largest shareholders, is banking on Filipinos’ increasing digital use to build new products as growth of its traditional business tapers off.

Inflation has affected the lower end of the market - the biggest segment of the Philippine population - but easing consumer price gains should help boost Globe’s earnings in the latter part of 2023, Cu said.

Globe Telecom shares were unchanged at 2:17 pm in Manila trading, with the Philippines’ key stock index off 0.5%.

--With assistance from Manolo Serapio Jr..

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