Feb 27, 2012

Yoma Strategic eyes Myanmar growth

Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings plans to increase its holdings in Myanmar by buying 70 percent of the Thanlyin Star City housing development, the company announced on February 13.

A Yoma Strategic press release said the company will pay S$91 million (US$72.4 million) to buy 135 acres of land in Thanlyin township beside the Bago River from SPA Group. The deal, which is subject to shareholder approval, will be financed through four-for-five rights issue priced at S$0.24 a share.

The mixed residential and commercial development is near the Thilawa deepsea port, and in an area where a special economic zone is widely expected to be built.

The buy does not include two blocks of residential apartments comprising 300 units, most of which have already been sold. The remaining 30pc interest in the Star City project is held by First Myanmar Investment Co.

Star City will comprise more than 9000 units of apartments and houses, shopping and commercial areas if it is fully developed. Mr Andrew Rickards, chief executive officer of Yoma Strategic, said: “The acquisition of Star City represents a significant boost to our real estate business and should give us a strong pipeline for next six to eight years while we develop other businesses under the group in Myanmar.

“We are in a strong position to capitalise on the growth of Myanmar given our existing businesses there and our affiliation with the SPA Group. We believe that the timing of the proposed acquisition is also opportune, in view of the recent political, social and economic reforms in Myanmar. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the board expects the real estate sector to continue to be buoyant.”

Yoma also reported it has returned to profitability with a net profit of S$1.4 million ($1.1 million) for the three months that ended December 31, 2011.

This reversed a net loss of S$500,000 a year earlier due to the increased sales of housing and land development rights in Myanmar.

It added that about 75pc of the company’s net assets and 100pc of its revenue now come from Myanmar.

Yoma is also upbeat about its future prospects and its executive chairman Mr Serge Pun said: “We believe that with Myanmar’s reintegration with the global economy, we will stand to benefit not only from the sales of housing and LDRs, but also from the development of our other business areas.”

Source: Myanmar Times