Oct 29, 2014

Hilton Debuts in Myanmar with Nay Pyi Taw Hotel

Hilton Worldwide made its foray into Myanmar with the opening of Hilton Nay Pyi Taw in the country’s capital, the American hospitality company said.

The 202-room Hilton Nay Pyi Taw spans more than 100 acres and is situated within the capital’sdeveloping Dekhina Thiri township.

Owned by local firm Eden Group Company Ltd and managed by Hilton Worldwide, Hilton Nay Pyi Taw is close to Nay Pyi Taw’s main government administrative offices and 24 kilometres from the Nay Pyi Taw International Airport.

The hotel is also located near Ruby Hall, the meetings and conventions venue at which the upcoming Ninth East Asia Summit will be held in November.

“We are thrilled to be one of the first global hospitality companies to fly our flag in Myanmar,” said Rob Palleschi, global head, full service brands, Hilton Worldwide.

In a bid to cater to Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE), Hilton Nay Pyi Taw offers five function spaces including a standing reception area that can accommodate up to 410 people in the 458 square-metre ballroom, Hilton said.

Hilton Nay Pyi Taw offers three restaurant and bar options – The Elements, an all-day dining restaurant; The Axis Lounge, the hotel’s lobby lounge; and Boardwalk, the hotel’s poolside bar.

The hotel also offers recreational and wellness facilities onsite which include spa, outdoor swimming pool, fitness centre and tennis court.

“The opening of Hilton Nay Pyi Taw ... marks the entry of the company into the dynamic and emerging market of Myanmar,” said Martin Rinck, president, Asia Pacific, Hilton Worldwide.

“As we expand our footprint in this wonderful country, we are exceptionally thrilled to contribute towards Myanmar’s growing travel and tourism sector, as well as its social and economic progress,” added Rinck.

Hilton said it is “creating exciting opportunities” for its team members – almost all of whom are hired locally – through its training and development programs.

“These programs equip team members to offer world-class hospitality experiences,” the hotelier said in a statement.

Hilton Hotels and Resorts is owned by the Blackstone Group, an American private equity firm.

Its 2013 revenue stood at $9.735 billion.

Source: Myanmar Business Today

Colgate Buys Myanmar Toothpaste Brand

Colgate-Palmolive Co. has acquired a local toothpaste maker in Myanmar, in one of the biggest acquisitions by a foreign company in the Southeast Asia nation.

The U.S. consumer-goods company bought Laser Brand Toothpaste for roughly $100 million, a person with knowledge of the deal said Tuesday. The acquisition is one of the largest investments from a U.S. company since economic sanctions against Myanmar were first eased in 2012, ending the country’s six decades of isolation under military rule.

In a statement, Colgate confirmed it had acquired the Laser brand of toothpaste and personal-care products from Shwe Ayar Nadi Co. Ltd., a local privately held business group. It didn’t disclose terms of the deal.

Colgate said the investment reflects its “commitment to growing its business in this important emerging Southeast Asian country.” The company will acquire Laser’s manufacturing and tube-forming facilities and will produce Laser-brand toothpaste, along with importing Colgate brand goods from Thailand.

Colgate follows General Electric Co. , Coca-Cola Co. and Gap Inc., all of which have restarted operations in Myanmar over the past two years, with Coca-Cola pledging more than $200 million in investment there over the next five years.

Myanmar’s opening has been lucrative for multinationals that produce consumer goods, given the rising disposable income of Myanmar’s population of 51 million. Beauty and personal-care products in the country reached a market value of $318 million last year, according to research firm Euromonitor International, growing at a rate of 14% since 2009. Euromonitor has identified Myanmar as one of the 20 markets that will offer the most opportunities for consumer-goods companies globally.

Myanmar’s market is expected to grow further. The International Monetary Fund in a report this month estimated that the economy will keep growing by an average of 8% annually in coming years, citing increased foreign investment.

The acquisition is one of the largest of its kind in the frontier market, where foreign multinationals have preferred to set up joint venture companies with local businesses. Last year, merger and acquisition activity in Myanmar was valued at just $50 million, according to analytics firm Dealogic. This included the acquisition of Myanmar Care Products Ltd., a producer of diapers and feminine-hygiene products, by Japan’s Unicharm Corp . for an undisclosed amount.

U.S. investment in Myanmar has so far lagged behind other countries—including China, Myanmar’s largest source of foreign investment. According to the latest available Myanmar government statistics as of August, the total approved investment from U.S. companies in Myanmar is $243.6 million, compared with $14 billion from China, $10 billion from Thailand and $4.7 billion from Singapore.

Consumer-goods companies from other Western countries have also started investing in Myanmar, including Danish beer giant Carlsberg, which in 2013 formed a joint venture company in the country to produce beer. The company will begin brewing beer locally next month.

Colgate said it will shift domestic production of Colgate brand toothpaste from Thailand to Myanmar in coming years, allowing it to produce locally for the Myanmar market. It didn’t specify an exact date.

Like many other Western brands entering Myanmar, the company launched an extensive corporate-social responsibility campaign last year before launching its investment there. Colgate printed health education posters on the inside of their brand’s cardboard toothpaste boxes, and encouraged local retailers in far-flung villages to display these educational posters in their shops and in local clinics.

Write to P.R. Venkat at venkat.pr@wsj.com and Shibani Mahtani at shibani.mahtani@wsj.com

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Oct 24, 2014

International delegation and local businesses to reconvene at 2nd Myanmar Consumer Summit in Yangon next Monday

CMT's 2nd Myanmar Consumer Summit opening in Yangon on 27-28 October 2014, will welcome international delegation and local Myanmar companies vying to tap new opportunities as they share knowledge on the tastes and preferences of the Burmese, especially those related to food consumables that need localization, managing supply chain, the role of local players, impact of the new advertisement policy on consumer market, role of local convenience stores in tapping the vast consumer base and much more.

Themed "Empowering Consumers with Choice in Fast Changing Myanmar", the summit features 2 Panel Discussions:

Accessing the Myanmar Market -


Myint Zaw, President, Professional Marketer, Association of Myanmar

Lester Tan, Managing Director, APB Alliance Brewery Co. Ltd. (Part of the Heineken Company)

Sandeep Kohli, Vice President (Myanmar, Laos & Cambodia), Unilever Myanmar

Bob Travers, Associate Director (ASEAN Supply Network Organisation), Procter & Gamble (P&G)

Opportunities & Challenges for Myanmar's Franchise & Retail Sectors


Han Kyi, Director, Creation Myanmar Co., Ltd.

Daw. Wai Thit Lwin, Managing Director, ABC Convenience Stores

Tony Picon, Managing Director, Colliers International Myanmar

Maung Thet Naing Oo Maverick, Managing Director, Maverick Management Co. Ltd.

Details of the summit can be viewed at the official website. Please contact Ms. Hafizah at hafizah@cmtsp.com.sg or call + 65 6346 9218 for enquiries.

Oct 22, 2014

Myanmar's electricity supplier to go public

Myanmar's Yangon Electricity Supply Board (YESB) said on Sunday that it is planning to transform itself into a listed company for more effective operation.

The YESB will retain 51 percent of the share, while the public will be offered 49 percent, officials said, adding that priority will be given to local partners rather than foreign firms.

Myanmar is striving to meet an increasing electricity demand in the country and has drafted an energy bill aimed at curbing the extraction and sale of natural gas to be reserved for generating electricity.

The bill calls for using natural gas extracted inland and offshore from the 2014-15 fiscal year for electricity generation as part of its efforts to supply power to the whole country within more than two years.

Electricity demand in Myanmar is increasing because of economic growth.

According to latest official statistics, Myanmar's installed capacity from all hydropower sources stands at 4,361 megawatts.

Foreign investment topped the power sector with 19.324 billion U.S. dollars as of August 2014, accounting for 39.11 percent of the total.

Source: Xinhua

Gov't to Reopen Tender for State-Owned Hotels for Private Operation

Myanmar Ministry of Hotels and Tourism said it will reopen tender for leasing four state-owned hotels to private sector for continued business operation in early November after the previous tender winners failed to abide by the agreement of contract signed with the ministry.

As part of its privatisation scheme, Myanmar is also turning some previous government office buildings in Yangon to run as hotels to help boost tourism.

Myanmar saw the opening of over 1,000 hotels, motels and guest houses so far in 2014, making available about 41,000 rooms across the country.

The 2014 figures were up from 731 in 2011 with over 25,000 rooms when the semi-civilian government took office.

Most of the hotels are located in Yangon, the commercial hub of Myanmar, where tourist arrivals continue to increase.

There is a total of 39 foreign-invested hotels and commercial complexes across the country.

Investment by Myanmar nationals in the hotels and tourism sector has reached nearly $690 million, 14 percent of the total investment made by locals, according to official statistics.

The number of tourist arrivals has also seen big increases, reaching 1.06 million in 2012 and 2.04 million in 2013, and 1.6 million in the first seven months of this year.

Myanmar targets 3 million tourist arrivals by the end of this year.

Source: Myanmar Business Today

Pact, Partners Pledge $7m for Financial Inclusion of Myanmar Women

Pact and its partners, Chevron and The Coca-Cola Co and its Foundation, have pledged $7 million to help over 65,000 women in six regions across Myanmar through financial inclusion, health and mobile technology support.

The commitment, announced at 2014 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting, builds on two existing projects between Pact and its partners to improve the lives of women, their families and communities in Myanmar.

One of the key challenges to lifting people out of poverty in Myanmar is inadequate access to capital. With an average per capita income of less than $2 per day, more than one in four people live in poverty.

Pact has been active in Myanmar since 1997, improving health care, livelihoods and community development with nearly 4 million people across 11,147 villages.

Pact’s WORTH initiative, a savings-led finance program, has been implemented across four projects in Myanmar. WORTH enables women to build transparent savings and credit groups and empowers them with financial literacy skills and entrepreneurial training needed to start and grow microenterprises.

In 2012, Pact and Coca-Cola implemented a 5by20 project to support women’s economic empowerment and job creation initiatives in Myanmar. The project has already helped improve the incomes of 21,000 women, Pact said. The three-year project aims to empower 24,500 women through training, capacity building, and microenterprise development.

“Projects such as this help people to make their own economic choices and improve their health and their lives,” said Melody Meyer, president, Chevron Asia Pacific Exploration and Production Company.

Pact and Chevron have been partnering in Myanmar for more than 10 years. Through the Sustainable Health and Empowerment (SHINE) program, Pact and Chevron have reached more than 169,000 people in 245 villages with integrated health and livelihoods support. The project facilitates community-led networks, providing them with technical knowledge and training needed to put healthy behaviours into practice.

The new funds will expand the current partnerships in Myanmar and start efforts in two new regions of the country, Pact said. It will also train and equip WORTH groups and community health workers with mobile technology to improve data collection and access to information.

Pact said it is seeking additional partners on the commitment, including those that can help develop mobile technology tools and platforms to provide participants with improved access to education, training, banking and social services.

Source: Myanmar Business Today

Oct 20, 2014

Myanmar to open more oil exploration blocks to investors

Myanmar will release another 15 oil exploration blocks by the end of next year to international investors, on top of the 40 blocks that have been awarded to the likes of Total, Shell and Chevron.

Myanmar is further opening its oil and gas sector to international investors. It will release another 15 oil exploration blocks by the end of next year.

So far, 40 blocks have been awarded to the likes of Total, Shell and Chevron. The number is only half of what is available in the resource-rich nation.

Than Min, Director of Planning Department, Myanma Oil and Gas Enterprise, said: "Our expectations are high to discover more oil and gas. So it will contribute a lot to Myanmar people.
We need to manage revenues from these projects. Then our development programme will be oriented to people development."

But there are concerns about regulation in the sector. Myanmar's Energy Ministry plans to team up with a private company to offer oilfield services. But there are fears this could squeeze the smaller players.

Kyaw Kyaw Hlaing, Chairman of Myanmar Oil & Gas Services Society, said: "We welcome it but everybody must be on a level playing field. They should compete together with the other service companies. They shouldn't, as a regulator, take advantage and tell the oil companies that you must give it to this joint venture company. This is the concern from the local service companies and service companies overseas, also."

London-based advocacy group, Global Witness, added there needs to be more transparency. At present, some 20 firms have refused to disclose their ownership details. But for now, that is not bothering the locals.

"For me, my concern is more about how you earn the money. If your money earning is right, I don't really care who is behind this company," said Kyaw Kyaw Hlaing, Chairman of Myanmar Oil & Gas Services Society.

The problem is that foreign investors may care. At an oil and gas conference in Yangon, many of the exhibitors from over 20 countries and regions such as Singapore, Australia and the UK said they do not have operations or business transactions in Myanmar.

But they are keen to enter the oil and gas market as it continues to liberalise. And that is no surprise, given how this sector has attracted the second largest foreign investments in Myanmar, amounting to over US$15 billion as of August this year.

That contributes to about 30 percent of Myanmar's total foreign investments. The plan now is to pump the money back into the economy. Myanmar says it will first focus its policy on servicing the domestic market, rather than exports.

Source: Channel News Asia