RANGOON — Twenty foreign companies and one local company have signed agreements to build factories in the Japan-backed Thilawa Special Economic Zone (SEZ), a project representative said on Tuesday, adding that a total of 51 firms have expressed an interest in investing in the zone that is being developed near Rangoon.
Win Aung, chairman of Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holdings Public Holdings (MTSH), said nine of the firms that signed an investment agreement were Japanese, while the other companies include one local firm and one American firm, and companies from Taiwan, Thailand, China, Sweden, Hong Kong and Australia.
“Some plants will be able start operations by mid-2015,” Win Aung said during a press conference at the Asia Development Bank’s Rangoon office.
He added that 19 of 21 companies will build on more than 54 hectares of land, but the area to be allotted to remaining two firms is yet to be determined.
He said the investors were involved in construction, steel pipes production and wood- and aluminum-processing. Win Aung said the Swedish firm would build a textile factory and the US firm a bottling plant.
Altogether 51 companies have expressed an interest to invest in manufacturing facilities at Thilawa SEZ, according to Win Aung.
Companies will be allowed to rent the land in Thilawa SEZ for 50 years and can extend the lease twice with 10 years, according to the Special Economic Zone Law.
The Thilawa SEZ is a joint venture by these Burmese and Japanese governments, and companies from both countries.
MTSH, a conglomerate of nine local public companies, owns 41 percent of the project and the government’s Thilawa SEZ management committee 10 percent, bringing the total Burmese share to 51 percent.
MMS Thilawa Development Co Ltd, a consortium of Japan’s Sumitomo, Mitsubishi and Marubeni companies, owns 39 percent and the Japan International Cooperation Agency 10 percent.
The project, which includes a deep sea port, is being developed 23km southeast of Rangoon.