Sep 5, 2015

Myanmar border trade tops $2.4bn

Trade between Myanmar and its four neighbouring countries has reached US$2.48 billion (85 billion baht) in the financial year to date, a Myanmar Commerce Ministry official said.

Myanmar shares borders with Bangladesh, China, India and Thailand. Exports to these four countries from the start of April until the end of August generated US$1.59 billion (57 billion baht) in income, the Myanmar Times on Thursday quoted Win Myint, director-general of the International Trade Promotion Department, as saying.

Over the same period, Myanmar imported $884 million worth of goods, he said. Imports from China were worth $618 million in the first five months of this financial year, according to official figures, while the value of exports to China was $1.48 billion.

Trade between Myanmar and Thailand was worth $349 million in total over the same period, $259 million of which was spent by Myanmar on imports. Myanmar has exported $16 million worth of goods to India and spent $6 million on imports from Asia’s third-largest economy so far this year, said Win Myint.

Total trade between Myanmar and Bangladesh is over $3 million, comprising $3.3 million of exports and just $30,000 of imports, he added.

Trade with China accounts for 87% of Myanmar’s border trade, while trade with Thailand is 12%, according to the ministry. Official statistics suggest border trade with India accounts for just 0.8% of the total and trade with Bangladesh a mere 0.2%, said Win Myint.

Official figures show border trade worth $407 million in financial year 2002. By 2007 this had reached more than $1 billion, increasing to $6.8 billion last fiscal year – with $4.2 billion in exports and $2.4 billion in imports, according to the ministry.

“Border trading is gradually increasing, but there are some challenges,” Win Myint said.

Last year officials told the Myanmar Times that poor law enforcement at the borders and a lack of resolve in tackling illicit industries has led to wide-scale smuggling that could account for annual losses of up to half a trillion dollars, the equivalent of 20 times Myanmar’s estimated total trade volume.

They claimed that the government lacks the capacity to monitor border trade, and customs officials are in short supply and vulnerable to bribery and corruption.

A number of goods, including alcohol and agricultural products are traded illegally across the country’s porous borders, but the largest losses come from timber, gems and minerals exports, they said.

Source: Bangkok Post

Sep 2, 2015

Myanmar Investments Eyeing "Strong" Investment Pipeline

Myanmar Investments International Ltd on Tuesday said it has a "strong pipeline" of potential investments.

The company completed two equity fundraisings in December 2014 and July 2015, raising USD23.7 million in total.

It led a USD30 million investment into Apollo Towers, a telecommunications tower company in Myanmar, in the same month as the second of the fundraisings.

It said that Myanmar Finance International Ltd, its joint venture micro-finance company, has performed well since its investment in September 2014.

"Our second year of operation has consolidated our base in Myanmar from which we expect the pace of investment to pick up once the result of the November general election is settled. We have a strong pipeline of interesting opportunities in a range of sectors," Managing Director Aung Htun said in a statement.

The update came as the company reported a USD1.7 million pretax loss in the year ended March 31, compared with a USD866,888 pretax loss in the prior financial year. That was largely due to a USD1.0 million employee benefits expense and other operating expenses of USD642,099.

Source: London South East

Aug 31, 2015

Yangon Stock Exchange to Begin Accepting Listings

The Yangon Stock Exchange, which is slated to open in December, will begin accepting applications in September for listed companies which will sell shares said Dr Maung Maung Thein, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Finance and chair of the Securities Exchange Supervisory Commission.

“The work on Yangon Stock Exchange is 97 percent finished. The opening is being postponed from an earlier start date to avoid its launch taking place at the same time as the election. When the time of application is near, the official announcements will be issued,” he said.

He said that if the companies which are interested in doing business and want to apply for the licences, they can do so, provided that they are acting in accordance with the 17 criteria for companies, issued on August 14. Those companies which still need to make changes to comply with YSX standards, can still rectify their shortcomings in advance.

To list on the stock exchange, companies need to have K500 million in paid up capital, recorded profits for two years, a system to prevent insider trading; and at least 100 shareholders, among other requirements.

“People should carefully study to understand the deals before doing anything. The conditions and information about the company in which you are going to invest should be known,” said U Than Saw, chairman of Green Communication Network Co Ltd.

Those people who will resell shares sold by the companies are told to apply for licences, and the issued licences will be announced in the first week of September, according to the Securities Exchange Committee.

At present, there are 85 companies which are operating with the capital of K500 million and above, and 71 companies operating with less than K500 million. Some companies with high investment capital include Kanbawza Co Ltd, Yadanarpon Company and Myanmar Insurance Enterprise.

Source: Myanmar Business Today

Bakers veteran returns as Myanmar MD

Baker & McKenzie has welcomed back John Hancock, a former partner, chairman of the firm’s Bangkok office, and Asia-Pacific chairman, as the managing director of its Yangon office.

Hancock comes on board as Chris Hughes steps down as managing partner for Yangon.

With more than 35 years of legal experience, Hancock focuses on cross-border trade and investment and M&A. He has lived in Southeast Asia for about four decades, and helped set up Baker & McKenzie’s Myanmar Centre in Bangkok in 2012, which evolved into its Yangon office.

Baker & McKenzie, which opened its Yangon office in February 2014, now has ten legal staff there. In May, it hired Ola Nicolai Borge as partner from Grant Thornton Myanmar, where he was the managing partner.

Source: Asian Legal Business

Myanmar sets $2.80 daily minimum wage in bid to boost investment

Myanmar has set a minimum wage of 3,600 kyat ($2.80) for an eight-hour work day, a move likely to boost investment in the fast-growing country's garment industry.

The decision on a minimum wage, which follows two years of often acrimonious debate between garment factory owners and labor unions, was announced on Saturday.

Myanmar's government has targeted garments for rapid growth, and Saturday's statement may help spur this, as it gives clarity on the law and labor costs to global apparel brands buying clothes from Myanmar.

Companies that have pushed for creation of a minimum wage include giant Swedish retailer Hennes & Mauritz (HMb.ST), which works with 13 factories in Myanmar, and U.S. retailer Gap Inc (GPS.N), which buys from two.

Once a thriving industry, Myanmar's garment sector was hit hard by sanctions imposed by the United States, stripped of trade benefits and abandoned by brands who feared the reputational risk associated with the former junta.

In a bid to change this, Myanmar lawmakers passed a minimum wage law in 2013, but negotiations between employers, trade unions and the government were delayed by garment workers' strikes and threats from garment factory owners - many from China and South Korea - to close if the minimum wage was set too high.


COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

Under the newly-established level, Myanmar's minimum monthly pay would be around $67 a month, based on a six-day work week, giving it a competitive advantage over thriving garment makers such as Vietnam and Cambodia where the monthly minimum wage ranges from $90 to $128, according to the International Labor Organization.

Myanmar's announcement only stated the wage-rule for a "standard eight-hour work day". It did not mention overtime compensation.

Saturday's statement comes less than three months before Myanmar's first free elections in 25 years. Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy is widely expected to comfortably win the poll.

The approved wage would apply to workers across all sectors, but exclude small and family-run businesses that employ fewer than 15 people, National Minimum Wage Committee, a forum comprising all negotiating parties, said in state-run Myanma Ahlin newspaper.

The wage will come into effect on Sept. 1.

Myanmar exported $1.5 billion of clothes and materials in 2014, up from $1.2 billion the previous year and $947 million in 2012, according to the Global Trade Atlas.

The World Bank has projected that Myanmar's economy will expand about 8 percent in the current fiscal year.

Source: Reuters

Aug 27, 2015

Krispy Kreme to Open 10 Shops in Myanmar

Krispy Kreme (NYSE:KKD) today announced it has signed a development agreement with Doughnut Group Pte. Limited, to open 10 Krispy Kreme shops in Myanmar over the next five years.

“We’re confident the Krispy Kreme experience will be as meaningful in Myanmar as it is in Memphis or Manila, or anywhere else around the world where our signature sweet treats and coffee are served.”

Krispy Kreme is one of only a small number of western restaurant brands that have announced intentions to open in Myanmar. Dan Beem, Krispy Kreme’s Senior Vice President and President – International, said with a growing economy and a population eager to welcome global brands, the time is right for Krispy Kreme to bring its sweet treats to Myanmar.

“We see a lot of potential for Krispy Kreme in Myanmar, and we are pleased that Doughnut Group Pte. Limited is planning to deliver to the people of Myanmar the iconic Krispy Kreme experience that we are known for around the world, including our Original Glazed® doughnut,” said Beem.

Pote Narittakurn, owner of the Singapore-based Doughnut Group Pte. Limited, said with the recent evolution of Myanmar, which recently opened to foreign investment and development, this is an opportune time for Krispy Kreme to be one of the first western brands in the country.

“Myanmar is an up-and-coming market with a large population of people who are eager to start getting a taste of iconic brands like Krispy Kreme,” said Narittakurn. “We’re confident the Krispy Kreme experience will be as meaningful in Myanmar as it is in Memphis or Manila, or anywhere else around the world where our signature sweet treats and coffee are served.”

About Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme is a global retailer of premium-quality sweet treats, including its signature Original Glazed® doughnut. Headquartered in Winston-Salem, N.C., the Company has offered the highest-quality doughnuts and great-tasting coffee since it was founded in 1937. Krispy Kreme is proud of its Fundraising program, which for decades has helped non-profit organizations raise millions of dollars in needed funds. Krispy Kreme has more than 1,000 retail shops in 24 countries. Connect with Krispy Kreme at www.KrispyKreme.com, or on one its many social media channels, including www.Facebook.com/KrispyKreme, and www.Twitter.com/KrispyKreme.

Forward-Looking Statements

Information contained in this press release, other than historical information, should be considered forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are based on management’s beliefs, assumptions and expectations of our future economic performance, considering the information currently available to management. These statements are not statements of historical fact.

Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that may cause our actual results, performance or financial condition to differ materially from the expectations of future results, performance or financial condition we express or imply in any forward-looking statements. The words “believe,” “may,” “forecast,” “could,” “will,” “should,” “would,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “objective,” “seek,” “strive” or similar words, or the negative of these words, identify forward-looking statements. Factors that could contribute to these differences include, but are not limited to: the quality of Company and franchise store operations; our ability, and our dependence on the ability of our franchisees, to execute on our and their business plans; our relationships with our franchisees; our ability to implement our international growth strategy; our ability to implement our domestic small shop operating model; political, economic, currency and other risks associated with our international operations; the price and availability of raw materials needed to produce doughnut mixes and other ingredients, and the price of motor fuel; our relationships with wholesale customers; our ability to protect our trademarks and trade secrets; changes in customer preferences and perceptions; risks associated with competition; risks related to the food service industry, including food safety and protection of personal information; compliance with government regulations relating to food products and franchising; increased costs or other effects of new government regulations relating to healthcare benefits; and risks associated with implementation of new technology platforms.

These and other risks and uncertainties, which are described in more detail in the Company’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and other reports and statements filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, are difficult to predict, involve uncertainties that may materially affect actual results and may be beyond the Company’s control, and could cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by any of these forward-looking statements. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all such factors or to assess the impact of each such factor on the Company. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which such statement is made, and the Company does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the date on which such statement is made.

Contacts

Krispy Kreme
Darryl Carr, 336-726-8996
Sr. Director, Communications
dcarr@krispykreme.com

Source: Business Wire

Gas Brings $1 Billion to State Coffers

Over $1 billion was earned from exporting gas from four gas fields as of the first week of July in 2015-16 fiscal year, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

“Most gas export goes to Thailand which is a regular buyer of our gas. We have started exporting to China some time ago,” said U Win Myint, a director at the ministry.

Myanmar has allowed concessions in four offshore gas fields; Yadanar, Yetagun, Zawtika and Shwe gas fields.

Yadanar gas field in the Andaman Sea produces 910 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, of which 711 million cubic feet is exported to Thailand, while 330 million cubic feet of gas produced from Yetagun gas field off the Tanintharyi coast also goes to Thailand.

Zawtika gas field in the Martaban Gulf produces 353 million cubic feet of gas, of which 279 million cubic feet go to Thailand, while 379 out of the total 399 million cubic feet produced in Shwe gas field off the Rakhine shore are exported to China.

Natural gas is the largest industrial product export of Myanmar, which earned $5 billion in 2014-15 fiscal year, according to the data from the Ministry of Commerce.

Source: Myanmar Business Today

 
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