Singapore-Listed Yoma Expands Into Coffee in Burma

Myanmar, Burma, The Irrawaddy, coffee, Yoma Strategic Holdings, Serge Pun, ED&F Man

A man holds up coffee beans above a basket for roasting at a coffee shop in Hanoi. (Photo: Reuters)

SINGAPORE — Singapore-listed Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd plans to set up what it says could become the biggest coffee plantation in Burma, hoping the frontier economy has the potential to develop a strong coffee industry.

The Burma-focused property conglomerate, led by chairman Serge Pun, said on Tuesday it has signed a deal to set up a joint venture to establish a coffee business with ED&F Man, a global agricultural trader.

Yoma will hold an 85 percent stake in the venture, which is expected to require up to US$20 million of investment over four years. Its target will be to plant 3,700 acres of coffee.

“We think this will probably become the biggest coffee plantation in the country, and could start a new trend of coffee from Myanmar,” Andrew Rickards, Yoma’s chief executive officer said at a briefing in Singapore with analysts and reporters. “The main thrust of this is likely to be exports.”

Burma is geographically well situated to become a coffee producer, though its coffee industry is in its early days and fragmented, with a number of small plantations.

In 2012, it produced about 8,000 tons of coffee beans on 12,000 hectares (29,652 acres) of land, according to estimates of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. In 2011, the country exported under 100 tons of coffee.

By comparison, Vietnam, the world’s top producer of the strong-flavored robusta beans, churned out nearly 1.3 million tons of coffee in 2012, exporting most of that.

Rickards declined to give details on the plantation’s production target, but said a yield of one ton per acre per year would be a reference for early years of the plantation.

The plan is part of Yoma’s efforts to become a more diversified company. It also announced it had signed an agreement with the Burma government to set up a dairy plant to supply milk to schoolchildren, as well as a cold storage and logistics business with Japan’s Kokubu & Co Ltd.

Yoma garnered over 90 percent of its income from property business in Burma in 2013, and would like to see the contribution from non-property businesses to rise to at least 50 percent, company chairman Pun said.

In addition to property, it also owns a car service business, Burma’s first department store and a hot air balloon tour operator.

Yoma shares rose more than 1 percent to a five-week high of S$0.72 on Tuesday.

2 Responses to Singapore-Listed Yoma Expands Into Coffee in Burma

  1. Where is the would be plantation`s location?The mountain range close to Taunggoo..stretching Leikto up to Pyinmana has the most suitable place,I guess.
    There is no doubt that Starbuck will be coming soon.

  2. Are these coffee plantations growing robusta or arabica coffee and if they have both what are their comparison output per year n how many acres of these coffee plantations are using chemical free fertiliser?

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